The ornate ceiling of this evening’s setting – clad in gold and adorned with symbolism, mottos and celestial paintings – echoes the designer’s sentiment for honouring tradition that’s evident in his refined paisley patterns and silhouettes. Clearly staying true to his roots is something Rocky’s really passionate about promoting in his work “well, I’m from India and if I’m not going to hold onto my tradition, it’s not going to make sense to me” he shares vehemently. The designer’s latest collection is flowing with artfully printed silks, delicate embellishment and drapery that’s evocative of the time-honoured garments of his heritage, “I’ve lived my life in India and I love the beautiful culture we have, the kind of artisans we live with and the kind of fabrics… I don’t think the richness of India is yet explored and I need to do that… The textiles have been woven specially for the show. We’ve handcrafted each and every piece, you know, specialist people with Zardosi who have sat for months to do this collection, so it’s a very special collection for me.”
This slow and conscientious approach to creating a collection, he tells me, is intended to work in harmony with what’s going on in the world today, too. After all, London Fashion Week is about newness, and that’s exactly how the designer’s interpreted the wearer of his clothes. “It’s definitely today’s women who are strong, beautiful, travellers” he says of his inspiration. “She is very much emotional and feminine and holding onto the traditional – it’s inspired by various places in India, but it’s for the modern woman who can be anywhere”
My brief chat with the in-demand designer draws to a close as he’s distracted by Love Island’s Olivia Buckland, who closed the show in a short cutout dress. Before we leave, Rocky’s ambition to focus on creating a lifestyle, as well as his aspirational high fashion pieces, is evident when I mention his various diffusion lines and recently launched bar “As a brand we need to reach out to many more people, much younger people, and that’s why I started RS Jeans which is very cool, very fun, very reasonable and affordable.” Clearly, this inclusive approach is working – later on Olivia Buckland’s enthusiastic Instagram post details her appreciation of being involved in the show, despite often being ruled out of similar events.
Words: Amy Miles | Writer | @amymiles_