Rochas' modernist gentlewoman

Marco Zanini said he kept ‘modernism and an intelligent gentlewoman’ in mind when designing his AW12 collection for Rochas.

That translated into ladylike suits, eye-catching flares and cocoon coats in all the colours of a ‘60s living room (evergreen, aubergine, mustard).

Whether in printed silks or rich metallic jacquards, a dominant pattern of diamonds filled with whorls of contrasting colour unified the collection. The prints resembled Chuck Close’s painted cells with their regimented lines and inner swirls, but the inspiration came from the world of craft rather than art.

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‘All the prints come from Scandinavian pottery that I’m currently loving, starting in the ‘30s and ending in the ‘60s,’ Zanini said backstage after the show. ‘The colours, the prints, the buttons—everything came from there.’

Zanini cited midcentury ‘Nordic modernist’ potter Wilhelm Kage’s ‘farta’ series in particular. It was all very painterly, with jangly art-teacher necklaces to match. Alternately bookish and stately, Zanini’s woman could look like an absent-minded librarian one moment in ribbed cardigans belted over pleated shin-length skirts, and a couture grand dame the next, in stiff, stand-away jackets and roomy ruffled gowns.

It was intelligent with a dash of kook - kind of like your favourite pottery collector.

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