Joy, pleasure, exuberance. As the world has turned back on post-pandemic, designers have strived to channel those sensations in their clothes. For Christopher John Rogers, all that seems to come quite naturally. He sprang down the runway last night, leaping and pirouetting and soaking up his standing ovation.
This was Rogers’s first IRL show in over two years. A move to the pre-season schedule and the Omicron plot twist delayed his return until now, but he had quite the cheering squad for his comeback. Prabal Gurung, Victor Glemaud, Hillary Taymour, Peter Do, Raul Lopez, and the Oscar de la Renta designers all sat in the front row. Most of them have been back on the New York Fashion Week calendar since last September.
So backstage after the show there was a feeling of making up for lost time. Rogers exchanged hugs, wiped away tears, and posed with what looked like all 55 of his models. Of his collection, he said, “I wanted to say that everything can exist together, everything makes sense if you will it to. I like the idea of multiplicity and that so many things through one specific scope can shine.”
Karlie Kloss kicked things off in a purple coat, whose oversized, double-breasted proportions were extroverted in the extreme. Tailoring played a starring role, but Rogers is agnostic about silhouette. Single-breasted pantsuits exuding masculine swagger mixed with other more feminine shapes boasting dropped lapels, back gathers and drapes, and, in a couple of cases, pants. He cut trenches in bold floral prints, whose colors were picked up in bright shearling dusters.
Even without the benefit of runway shows Rogers has made some of the most clockable fashion of the last couple of years. That’s down to his extraordinary color sense and eye for graphic pattern, both of which were on ample display in this collection’s array of striped knits, which he juxtaposed in more-is-more fashion with checkerboard separates and/or tights.
Another thing that designers have been talking about these days is ease. None of us, they’re convinced, are ready to give up the sartorial comforts we began to count on during Covid. Rogers might beg to differ. Sweater dresses and silk pjs aside, he’s not interested in easy. To put it another way: his clothes attract people for whom easy isn’t interesting.
From start to finish, this show brought the drama, but there are a few special numbers worth mentioning. Among them: a floral print 1930s-ish tea dress and a gown in madras plaid silk shantung. And here’s betting he’s already getting calls for the bustier dress with a sunflower yellow bodice and wide horizontal stripes of coral, fuchsia, and citrine circling its ball skirt.