Some new designers sizzle and fade out, but lucky for us, not Christopher John Rogers. Going into his second presentation on the New York Fashion Week calendar, the designer wanted to make two things clear: “straight-up fashion shouldn’t be so serious,” and, this season, he wanted to show just how serious his line is. The intention of the collection: to show growth. And it did.

Rogers referenced mid-century cotillion and debutante balls and a bit of neolithic architecture for inspiration. “If those parties were thrown at Stonehenge and then drawn by Dr. Seuss, what would it look like?” he asked. One of his fabulous over-the-top gowns would do the trick — ruffled and tiered in orange, strapless in half-checkerboard, half-zebra prints, or with big tulle hoop skirts and hand-painted corset bodices. The aforementioned hand-paintings included magnificent, colorful enlarged faces by a friend of Rogers, Drake Carr, also rendered on a sheath and trousers. But there were also totally realistic, equally glamorous and quirky daywear options that mixed his now signature lamés and tulle with mismatched plaids, furs and crepes: a striped-button down with enlarged, ruffled sleeves and matching wide-leg trousers, vibrant suiting and knife-pleated lamé skirts, not to mention a great patchworked fur coat. Still unfunded, with full-time jobs (Rogers at DVF, his business partner at Marc Jacobs), Rogers continues to be a bright, aspiring light (his presentation was packed full despite the freezing evening rain).

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