Finalist for the 2021 LVMH Prize, the American designer Christopher John Rogers seduces with his collections as glamorous as they are flamboyant. Number portrays the man who embodies the future of American fashion.
Christopher John Rohers. Courtesy of LVMH Prize
On Wednesday January 20, 2021, Joe Biden officially becomes the 46th president from the United States at a ceremony in Washington in the presence of singers Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and young poet Amanda Gorman. Beside her is Kamala Harris, first female vice-president, wearing a midi dress and matching purple coat, in reference to the flyers distributed by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to stand for election. American presidential election in 1972. This set, as sober as it is elegant, is signed by Christopher John Rogers, a young designer who stands out as the future of fashion made in USA.
When Christopher John Rogers presented a collection for the first time at Fashion Week from New York in September 2018, the event is in the throes of exile of several flagship designers. Proenza Schouler or Altuzarra parade in Paris, Alexander Wang is off the official calendar, Tommy Hilfiger has chosen London and Tom Ford, Los Angeles. Vacant places that will quickly be filled by a slew of young designers like Pyer Moss, Eckhaus Latta, Area and Christopher John Rogers. In a few seasons, the latter, with these glamorous and exuberant collections, seduced the jury of the CFDA (council of American fashion designers) chaired by Tom Ford, who awarded him the Vogue Fashion Fund prize in 2019 and the emerging designer prize in 2020. In April 2021, Christopher John Rogers caught the eye of the jury of the LVMH Prize, which has rewarded young designers from the international fashion scene every year since 2013, and joined the list of 9 finalists.
Zendaya and Lady Gaga as Christopher John Rogers
It is impossible not to stop in front of the creations of Christopher John Rogers which evoke great couturiers like Charles James or Christian Lacroix of mixed race with his African-American roots. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the young designer studied at Savannah College of Art and Design. “Growing up and studying in the Southern United States gave me a different way of thinking about fashion. I was not influenced by the need to offer pieces that were too pragmatic”, Confides the creator to Numéro. Mastering both the art of draping and tailoring, the use of ruffles, frills and pleats, daring volumes and sheath models, Christopher John Rogers imagines daring creations with sought-after volumes and brilliant material effects that cannot be seen anywhere else. “The work I do is not necessarily sewing, but I like the idea that it is not easily reproducible – I find it very stimulating. We can take inspiration from archive dresses as well as trash bags, shopping bags or works, which all have the same power to translate the idea of “screeching” or “crumpling”. They have the same aesthetic power. It’s more about the energy of volumes, offering something new, and working with fabrics that inspire me more than the idea of “couture”, he continues.
In the manner of a painter, the designer affixes, on his voluminous dresses and its fitted costumes, vibrant solid colors (fuchsia, burgundy, turquoise, yellow, green, orange …), vibrant patterns, floral prints (abstract or figurative), wide stripes, rows of circles borrowed from the artist Victor Vasarely, or madras-style checkered fabrics. By the power of his creations, in just a few months, Christopher John Rogers has carved out a place of choice in the wardrobe of American stars fond of his theatrical outfits such as Zendaya, Lil Nas X or Lady Gaga and Tessa Thompson.
Christopher John Rogers Resort 2022 and Fall-Winter 2021-2022
If his disproportionate creations evoke the flamboyant universe of ballrooms (a counter-culture born in New York in the 80s within LGBTQ Afro and Hispano-American communities, within which dance battles and parades are organized), the creator denies being directly inspired by it. “I wouldn’t say I’m directly inspired by the ballroom scene – it’s something a lot of people indeed relate to my work, but it’s not a direct reference. I’m black, and American, and queer, so there is a deliberate desire to be seen and visible, and to occupy the space (both obviously and implicitly) that is very apparent in my work, so I understand the link that is made ”, he justifies. Finally, through his fashion, Christopher John Rogers advocates assertiveness and above all wants to offer everyone the opportunity to fully express their own personality.