When our Victorian theatre awoke in 2018 after 80 years of slumber, we couldn’t have imagined the diversity of shows we would come to house. From pantomime to podcasts, book launches to stand up, we thought we’d seen it all at Ally Pally. But Sunday 15th September was a little different, when we played host to the incredible Simone Rocha’s Women’s Spring/Summer 2020 Show as part of London Fashion Week. The show attracted a lot of press intention so we wanted to share our best bits.
“This season, Rocha has chosen one of her most dramatic backdrops to date: A restored Victorian theatre that was closed to the public for 80 years.
Located in the East Wing of London’s historic Alexandra Palace, which was built in the 1870s, the theatre was reopened last December following an extensive multi-million-dollar renovation. With much of the original structure preserved, the space appears frozen in time, its high-tech lighting and sound equipment hidden beneath peeled paint and faded floorboards.
The main venue space at “Ally Pally,” as it is known by Londoners, has hosted shows by the likes of Jay-Z, The Rolling Stones and Florence and The Machine in recent years. But on Sunday evening, its newly-opened theatre provided an atmospheric backdrop to Rocha’s evocative new collection — an inventive womenswear line that linked to her Irish heritage and proved why she is one of fashion’s most talked-about designers.”
“Alexandra Palace staged the first fashion show in its storied history last night as Simone Rocha lifted the curtain on her latest collection in the iconic venue. As the fashion press took their seats on the balcony of the recently restored Victorian theatre, which reopened last year after an 80-year closure, it soon became clear that the designer was intent on putting on a spectacle befitting its surroundings.”
“Staged inside a totally decayed grand old theatre within Alexandra Palace, which was built on Muswell Hill, the highest overlooking London. The aged pine floorboards and raw space were the ideal juxtaposition to the clothes – an amalgam of haute romanticism, druid chic and posh punk. Everyone in London calls this rather wrecked structure Ally Pally, a term of endearment for a revered friend, which captures the reaction to this special collection.”
“Folklore, faded grandeur, beauty and something subtly sinister were all elements in Rocha’s show. The designer emphasised the theatricality of the wren boy tradition by holding her show in a recently restored Victorian theatre at Alexandra Palace, complete with gold walls and cornices, high ceilings and a heightened sense of time-lost splendour.”
The show brought with it a number of celebrities, including singer Paloma Faith, designer Lulu Guinness, entrepreneur Lauren Santo Domingo and editor in chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour.
Rocha deservedly earned a long and thunderous ovation for her remarkable collection which was set against the dramatic backdrop of our beautiful theatre.
Alexandra Palace is a charity, run for the benefit of everyone. Our Park, Palace and spectacular events have been enriching lives since 1863, but the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard. To be blunt, we are looking at a £1m shortfall this year and the same again next year. We know this time has been hard on many people but, if you can afford it, your support will help us get through this crisis.