Rochas is a fashion, beauty, and perfume house founded in 1925 by French designer Marcel Rochas, the first designer of 2/3-length coats and skirts with pockets and one of the two designers, along with Elsa Schiaparelli, who launched the fashion for padded shoulders in 1931. Rochas had been known primarily for its signature perfume, "Femme," which was packaged in a pink box with black lace.
The company found recent recognition for its fashion design when it chose Belgian-born Olivier Theyskens as its creative director in 2002. (In the years leading to his appointment, its clothes had not been considered notable.) Theyskens, within his first few months, created an "entirely new silhouette for the house" that was French-influenced and elegant. His first full collection, for Fall 2003, was praised by style.com as "ravishing" and "nothing short of magnificent."
For the next several years, Rochas continued to garner praise among fashion critics and to attract loyal followers. Rochas' clients included Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Kirsten Dunst, Kate Bosworth, Jennifer Lopez, Rachel Weisz, and Sarah Jessica Parker. In 2006, the Council of Fashion Designers of America awarded Theyskens the International Award. However, Theyskens' focus on "demicouture" (special pieces too costly to mass-produce but which may not meet strict couture rules regarding hand-stitching and numbers of fitting) was questioned by fashion insiders as a viable business strategy. His gowns, some of which were priced upwards of $20,000, were often out of reach for all but the most fabulously wealthy. Theyskens took a purer approach to fashion and did not rely (like many fashion houses) on accessory sales and cheaper sister lines for a steady stream of revenue.
In July 2006, Procter & Gamble announced the discontinuation of Rochas' fashion division, shocking many in the fashion industry. One "longtime designer," commenting anonymously in the New York Times, said of the closure, "That sort of perfect, made-to-measure business can't exist today, which is really too bad. Everything is about business now, and fashion shouldn't have to follow normal economic models—that's not the point. What happened to investing in beauty?"
News emerged in 2008 that there were plans to reopen the fashion house.
On November 3, 2008, Marco Zanini was named new artistic director for the fashion house. He showed his first collection during Paris Fashion Week in February 2009.
About half a century separate Marco Zanini from the creator and founder of the house, Marcel Rochas. Born in 1971, Marco Zanini graduated from the Fine Arts Academy of Milan in 1995. After having been Assistant at Dolce & Gabbana for their ready-to-wear line, he became Donatella Versace's right arm. He then relaunched the American brand of Halston. Rochas conferred the responsibility of its ready-to-wear collections upon him in 2009. His ambition to build "brick by brick" and season after season the foundations of a renewed House of Rochas, his insistence on making each new collection "unpredictable", confirm the renaissance of Rochas in fashion.
In September 2013, it was confirmed that Zanini would be leaving Rochas after five years with the brand to take on the role of Creative Director at the House of Schiaparelli. He would be replaced by Alessandro Dell'Acqua who currently also designs his own line No. 21. Dell'Acqua's first show for Rochas is set to take place in February 2014.
In 2017 Rochas has made their first foray into menswear. In January the formerly only women's wear oriented label unveiled their first menswear collection, created by French designer Béatrice Ferran.
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...Marcel Rochas...is given credit for the first padded shoulders...
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- Byron, Ellen (2008-10-07). "P&G Pact to Reopen Rochas Fashion House". The Wall Street Journal.
- Seidler, Benjamin. "Designers of Desire: Marco Zanini at Rochas". Retrieved 2018-11-29.
- Marco Zanini appointed Schiaparelli creative director, Telegraph Fashion, September 30, 2013
- Dell'Acqua Replaces Zanini At Rochas,Vogue UK, September 26, 2013
- Muret, FashionNetwork.com, Dominique. "Paris Fashion Week: Rochas unveils sophisticated menswear collection". FashionNetwork.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.