Focus On: Christopher John Rogers

In support for the Black community, I continue celebrating and highlighting the talented individuals that shape fashion today. Take notes! Christopher John Rogers is definitely one of New York’s brightest stars among young and independent designers. Baton Rouge–born, Brooklyn-based designer is known for resurrecting glamour, and his whimsical take on eveningwear (think cascading tulle, slimming taffeta suits, pleated skirts) that got Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Lizzo, Cardi B, SZA and Tracee Ellis Ross obsessed and take it to the red carpet. Moreover, Chistopher became one of the 2019 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists – this only motivated him to buckle down further. His autumn-winter 2020 is the perfect balance between dramatic gowns and statement pieces that you will love in your day-to-day wardrobe. Spanning a full 40 looks, Rogers’s show had his signature silhouettes – there was the bulbous strawberry-shaped waist, which reappeared on the runway in violet, and he worked in some past references, like Pierrots, the French cinematic clowns that informed last season’s ruffled necklines. As for new inspirations, he cited trash bags, of all things – he told Vogue that a curtain brushing the floor in a Renaissance painting has the same energy as a crumpled garbage bag – and mid-century couturier Madame Grès, whose later work skewed more graphic and progressive than the goddess-draped gowns that made her famous. But what really makes the collection stand out is the masterful combination of bold colours and gorgeous fabrics. Whereas before Rogers had to be resourceful with his textiles, often working with deadstock materials, now he’s able to make patterns and sumptuous fabrics factory-made for his brand. “All of the things that my team and I have been dreaming up, we were able to execute on a level that you haven’t seen from us before,” Rogers summed up. The label is now producing on a larger scale thanks to a purchase from Net-a-Porter. In thinking about the potential commercial nature of his work, Rogers cited the popularity of that strawberry silhouette. “For something that morphs the shape so much, which maybe historically hasn’t been seen as flattering, women from a size 0 to a 14 have ordered the dress,” he said. “It goes to show that it’s not about dressing for the world—it’s about dressing for yourself. We’re not out here making 2,000 units of anything. We’re trying to make a few things for the few people who love it, and really make things that will last.” I can’t wait to see what this designer has in store for the upcoming seasons, looking forward to more of his fantastic splendor!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki featuring artworks by the late Christo; selected looks from Christopher John Rogers‘ SS20 and AW20 collections.

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