The World, According to Christopher John Rogers: Glamour, Color, and Trash Bags

By
Photography Andrew Tess

Published February 13, 2020

Fashion shows have become all about the spectacles—circus-like events where hype and clout seem to take center stage rather than, you know, the fashion. This season, with his Fall/Winter 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week, Christopher John Rogers, the 26-year-old designer who recently secured the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award and has already dressed the likes of Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Michelle Obama, proved that fantasy, bold silhouettes, and glamour are far more powerful than blue checkmarks. The Louisiana-born and New York-bred designer presented yet another playful and regal collection at Spring Studios in front of a fashion crowd that mixed old and new. From Instagram’s Eva Chen to rapper Saweetie, and even some local drag queens, the crowd gasped and cheered as gowns in every color of the rainbow shimmied down the runway to the beat of disco tunes mixed with a SOPHIE remix of Sonikku’s bass-heavy bop “Sweat.” When asked to describe the mood board for his collection, Rogers didn’t skip a beat: garbage bags, pink and orange carryout bags, monochromatic churchwear, and the work of the 2oth century couturier Madame Grès were among the inspirations for his grandiose designs. “I was inspired by happenstance and serendipity,” he said backstage after the show. “A lot of the dresses came back really badly initially, and we were like ‘let’s just tuck, and drape, and fuck it up.” 

Ever since his show-stopping debut, the designer has been focused on growth without forgoing his most important ingredient: living the fantasy. Rogers and his team recently moved into a new Soho studio, which has allowed them to explore new ways of bringing his ideations to life. “I’ve been really thinking about the fact that we’re in this new phase of the business,” he said. “So we really just wanted to focus on, one, pleasing the customers that had purchased things from us, and allowed us to be in this space, and to make shit that we wanted to see.” And now that he has the world’s attention, Rogers is ready to conquer by bringing glamour to his fans worldwide. His brand was recently announced as one of four labels inducted into Net-a-Porter Vanguard mentorship program. Although it’s just the beginning of an illustrious career for the young designer, one thing’s for certain: Rogers has created a fantasy-ridden world where glamour and magic reign supreme. As the legendary fashion editor André Leon Talley once said, “People love fashion exhibits because they can fantasize. They can respond to a dress even if they can never wear a dress like that.” We’re already dreaming about Rogers’s next move. Interview went backstage at Christopher John Rogers to get a closer look at the designer’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection, with some polaroids from photographer Andrew Tess.

———