Christopher John Rogers has emerged from the pandemic at the top of New York’s young generation of designers. In his rainbow stripes and grids of colorful polka dots, he’s found strong, identifiable signatures, which is an important element of brand building that not all emerging talents understand or are capable of. The uptown, put-together polish of his clothes is another distinguishing factor. Many of his peers practice a scrappier, dirtier, more underground kind of fashion. His garments feel at ease on the red carpet. “I love being with a model and draping, or doing research, or really thinking about fit, about fabric, about texture, but I feel like only 10 to 15% of what I do is making clothes,” Rogers explained. “In some ways this collection was informed by wanting to go back to that essential feeling.” The sleeveless top and ball skirt of the first look suggested a new direction – as @londongirlinyc put it, very Carrie Bradshaw style, pre-And-Just-Like-That. To start, they were all-white, and then there was the off-kilter, undone aspect of their construction, but they were red herrings. Rogers quickly found his way back to the bright color and unbridled exuberance that are his hallmarks. The graphic stripes he’s known for were joined by similarly bold florals in the vein of Warhol’s daisies; a pair of evening dresses in black-and-white polka dots of varying sizes and overlays, both of which are definitely red carpet-bound; and going-out tops constructed like oversize birthday present bows. Rogers does a good business with knits. This season, he played with chunky yarns and thick, cozy layers, or fine gauges, though in both cases, he styled them to expose a flash of décoletté or midriff. On the opposite end of the texture spectrum were an elegant fitted button-down and matching long skirt and a pantsuit in a shiny material he likened to Glad garbage bags. “It’s this really amazing fabric that’s actually coated taffeta,” he said. To finish, there was a group of black looks, including a panniered ball skirt and a draped top with the romance of the opening outfit. Success begets success, and as Rogers’s business grows he’ll face ever more pressures and responsibilities that keep him from the design studio. The industry can be uniquely hard on promising newcomers, putting them in a box at the same time we demand they grow and evolve. But if that draped top and ball skirt can tell us anything, it’s that Rogers is as committed to the dream of creation as ever.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram! By the way, did you know that I’ve started a newsletter called Ed’s Dispatch? Click here to subscribe!