Earlier today, London-based designer Simone Rocha debuted her first couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier, and it literally brought us to tears. Announced back in September as part of Jean Paul Gaultier’s guest design programme, following the likes of Julien Dossena, Haider Ackermann, and Olivier Rousteing, Rocha had the chance to flex her unmistakable craft with haute couture resources.

Fusing her signature aesthetic with the storied iconography of the Jean Paul Gaultier brand, the collection featured dramatic silhouettes like backless ballgowns, tulle dresses with signature Rocha tailoring and red rhinestones married with sailor-inspired accessories, corsets, and ribbon lacing. The collection felt intentional with Rocha signatures like bows where she traded ribbon for a lock of hair, metal roses, pops of romantic red, rhinestone-covered eyebrows and lips, ballet flats, hand-crochet and manipulated Irish lace, and lucite platforms, alongside Gaultier staples, corsets, the iconic cone bra and the sailor shirt. The opening look, a magnificent see-through empire waist dress with an exaggerated cage embroidered with the all-seeing eye just covering the nipples.

As someone who’s never held back on ornate detail and profound craftsmanship in her ready-to-wear collections, Rocha pushed the limits by offering restraint in the design elements, balancing femininity and sexuality honouring the Gaultier brand. With access to Queen Victoria’s archives, the collection was particularly inspired by the 19th century royal’s mourning dress, a theme we’ve seen in her past ready-to-wear collections, but this time shown with more ornamental flourishes.

Watch the entire runway show below now, and stay tuned for more from Paris.

Images courtesy of Simone Rocha