An incredible energy vibrated throughout the venue of Christopher John Rogers’ first runway show, one of the most anticipated of this fashion week.

Numerous other designers — including Diane von Furstenberg, for whom Rogers used to work; Joseph Altuzarra; Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond; Alejandra Alonso Rojas; Victor Glemaud; Danielle Frankel, and Adam Selman — were seated front row, expressing their support for one of American fashion’s most promising talents.

Rogers, a finalist in this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards, was the picture of calm backstage before the show, where he revealed that the concept of “clowns on vacation” inspired his spring collection.

“I really looked at the idea of clowns and Italian and French Pierrots, characters that make you laugh,” said the designer, adding that he also combined period references — from both 1919 and the Eighties — which were reflected in drop waists and puffy volumes that popped up here and there.

In keeping with the Pierrot theme, Rogers opened the show with a hyper-puffy iridescent green dress featuring a maxi collar that framed the face, while a tiger-print frock had a low waist defined by a duchesse sash with a giant bow, an effect also seen on a charming skirt suit splashed with an upholstery-inspired floral pattern. Different checkered motifs were mixed and matched on a ruffled top paired with a tiered wrap skirt, its flamboyancy counterbalanced by a chic emerald tailored suit decorated with a charming black flower.

Neon colors, shimmering effects, clashing print combinations and super puffy volumes definitely stole the spotlight. And for all the over-the-top exuberance, Rogers proved he was able to deliver more wearable options that will appeal to real customers: The silk shirts punctuated by micro-crystal floral embroideries, the voluminous pants worn with a belted white blazer, as well as a streamlined pencil skirt paired with a silk top that exuded timeless elegance, were desirable options for women keen to amp up their wardrobe with pieces that work the easy side of flamboyance.

Often outrageous and irreverent, the collection exuded a joie de vivre, passion and creativity. Rogers showed an impressive — and daring — color sensibility, taking some risks by challenging the limits between good and bad taste. He never crossed the line, however, thanks to a personal fashion language rooted in irony and playfulness.

Did Rogers’ guests like the show? They actually went wild when he took a bow. A sign of good things to come!

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