Christopher John Rogers‘ ecstatically bold clothes make you smile. They are also perfect for all sorts of celebratory moments. So no wonder why the New York-based designer’s resort 2022 collection is the ultimate re-emergence wardrobe. “I wanted it to be visceral and come from my heart. I felt like we’ve developed so many house signatures we didn’t need to reference a specific era or themes. This was more about cutting clothes and providing people with opportunities to enjoy dressing up,” Rogers told Vogue. “Last year, as I was designing it, I thought if I’m only going to make one more collection, what would it look like? And the answer wasn’t informed by the past or what I thought buyers might want. I love fashion, and I’m a fan of fashion, so that came through in the clothes.” By focusing on enjoyment and reinventing customer favorites, Rogers was able to deep dive into several motifs. Sections of the collection were devoted to variations of punchy colors like slime green and tangerine orange, while rainbow prints with an optical illusion vibe made their way onto various separates. This gradual exploration of specific colors and patterns kept things playful. When you have multiple looks in similar shades, the little things become paramount, and Rogers went out of his way to make each piece feel special. He doesn’t just give you a sequined slip dress or puffer coat; he’ll throw geometric diamonds on the dress’s bustline line and make the outerwear a reversible cocoon with one side covered in a Dippin’ Dots-worthy circle print. Rogers wants his pieces to trigger an emotional response in those who wear them, one that challenges the ephemerality of fashion’s seasonal cycle. “We want these to be things our customers cherish, that they can wear and live in,” he says. “These aren’t pieces you wear once and forget; they’re meant to be treasured, clothes that can grow and evolve with you over time.” The focus on wearability and construction meant that some of the proportions here were subdued compared to what we’ve come to expect from the label. No one does extreme volume and color the way Rogers does, and it’s made him an eveningwear fixture for forward-thinking women (big hopes the Sex & The City reboot will feauture Rogers’ pieces along other New York-based designers!). While there were several red carpet-worthy looks – a technicolor paillette-covered dress with flapper flair and a ballgown with an artsy barbecue theme print were two standouts – this season daywear almost eclipsed the after-hours fare. Casual suits that mixed pinstripes and plaid, LBDs with hints of rainbow knit worked into their pleats, and sweater dresses with candy-hued stripes were lighthearted fun that managed to feel polished and grown-up. After a year in confinement that played out in shades of gray, reemergence demands office wear with oomph, and Rogers offered an example of how that might look.
The topic of bridal-wear might be a dull for some (like me!), but the moment I’ve discovered Danielle Frankel, I instantly changed my mind. Danielle Hirsch, the designer, made her mark as a bridal designer, yet her autumn-winter 2021 collection is a hybrid between a wedding gowns line-up and fabulous eveningwear. Many of her clients gravitate toward the idea of remixed bridal looks, choosing slinky slip dresses and silk separates. Moreover, Hirsch noticed that women are rewearing their pared-back, yet elegant wedding looks beyond the altar. So, the designer’s transition to ready-to-wear is a natural one, even though the body-skimming white dresses with Hirsch’s signature flourishes certainly look like they’re made for getting married in. Also in that vein is a standout column dress with sheer sleeves and exaggerated shoulders created with layered lace flowers. One of the best “ready-to-wear” pieces is a royal blue dress with a pleated waist that gives the body a severe and beautiful whittled effect. The neckline opens up to reveal a slight décolletage, and further flows into sculpted, voluminous shoulders. Hirsch will always have her bridal clients, but she definitely feels the ground in less ceremonial (and equally entrance-making) garments.
What surprised me the most about Rosie Assoulin’s autumn-winter 2019 collection was the colour palette the designer resorted to this time. While we all got used to see Rosie’s unpretentious, fantastically big eveningwear and glamorously-on-the-go daywear in bold, strong colours, this season she kept it more earthy, I would even say: calm. Of course, there was a bit of vibrant yellow and orange, a pop of electric blue and bright purple (I specifically mean this sleeveless gown with a pulled bow on the back – so beautiful), but they were all in the details. The black, mid-length dress with a corset-like detailing was a standout, just like the beige suite styled with a sheer shirt covered in big mirror sequins and the delicious look that featured a cropped, pearl-beaded turtleneck and a floor-sweeping, ball skirt. Assoulin’s collection rarely rotate around specific references or moodboards. She rather designs wardrobes, featuring clothes for different kinds of women (they share common love for joyful artiness in style, something Assoulin embodies in her fashion) and different occasions. Some are here to make an entrance, and some are designed for running everyday errands, in style. While other New York-based designers seem to give away uncertainty, Rosie stays on her track.
After his over-the-top, kitschy-chic fashion show back in spring, Tom Ford’s spring-summer 2019 collection felt like a colour detox mixed with self-reflection. Black, white, beiges and pale lilac were the leading shades, while the entire line-up took us down the memory lane of Ford’s career. For a moment, we all experienced again his 90s momentum at Gucci, that was all about refined sexiness and confidence – words that match the designer’s current work with the same precision. To a surprise of many, there were as well references to the few year tenure at Yves Saint Laurent, the period that shaped Tom’s aesthetic into a more sublime, after-dark vision of women.
But back to 2018. Draped skirts with lace inserts; jackets and blazers made of fake crocodile leather; satin cocktail dresses and evening gowns with pony-hair details. Some of the looks are fit for goddesses of seduction, other for cosmopolitan bosses. This one all-leather look seemed to be taken straight out of Roxy Music’s cover that featured Amanda Lear. But no, in the end this collection wasn’t created with a dominatrix in mind, but for powerful women who want garments that look equally powerful. The menswear part can be described with one word: handsome. Conclusion: when the evening comes, you want to meet both, the Ford woman and Ford man.
While for the past seasons, Rosie Assoulin earned a reputation of New York’s best place to shop for unpretentious eveningwear, the designer focused a bit more on daywear this time. And especially, outerwear, which is just a delight.The marble print – Rosie’s current obsession fuelled by a newly found book on marbling techniques – looked equally great on the reversible jackets, as on the pants in scarf-like silk. Tailoring is also a brand new area for Assoulin, but she manages to pull it off in a distinctly bold way (see the blue suit!). Flares are back, stronger than ever. But this wouldn’t be a Rosie Assoulin collection, if there were no dresses. From more day-to-day options to red-carpet spotlight stealers (that sculptural, micro-pleated gown), it’s impossible not to be mesmerised. Or even, enchanted!