When it comes to fashion, Southerners do the most. The region’s style philosophy is about being immaculately turned out, and its belles often choose to embody an aesthetic where perfection and tradition are prioritized.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Christopher John Rogers understands this concept implicitly, and for pre-fall, he sought to explore what it means to push the limits of your look without straying too far from convention. To accomplish this, he thought back to his youth in Baton Rouge and how he put together outfits as a child.
“If I was wearing a suit, there had to be a shirt and tie that matched,” Rogers explained. “If the shirt was forest green, I’d wear a coordinating jacquard tie or stripes, which was my way of showing that I had a point of view while still looking presentable.”
Rogers’s color palette may be bright, but he can send subtle messages. Here he worked to rethink the staples of American sportswear, loading classic silhouettes with oversaturated colors and heavily detailed prints of the Ken Scott and Celia Birtwell variety. All the oomph allows for moments of grandeur—a multicolored ball gown with spin-painting patterns that would make Damien Hirst jealous—but the evening fare takes a back seat to the more versatile looks.
Given the lengthy amount of time that pre-collections spend on the shelves, the season has taken on added importance. “Our preseasons are now our main seasons,” said Rogers. “So there is a lot of [focus] on this idea of comfort, being able to wear these clothes to more than just an event.”
Broadening the scope of his designs allowed Rogers to play with some new categories, most notably outerwear. His playful takes on pragmatic pieces seemed destined for Instagram glory. Offered in transparent PVC with rainbow squiggles covering nearly every inch, his raincoat is a delightful finishing touch that will have people wishing for rain.
Likewise, fluorescent hues and gradient stripes inject life into the most basic of basics, like shirtdresses and house gowns. Some of the collection’s energy can be attributed to the use of pastiche; the lineup wasn’t just a Southern homage or retro mashup. It was a mix of themes, eras, and muses united by Rogers’s affinity toward them.
A quick perusal and you’ll see modish prints, flapper silhouettes, fringe, the exaggerated proportions of late-’50s couture, Yayoi Kusama–Esque polka dots, and much more. “I started from such a visceral place,” he said. “Instead of an overly prescriptive vision, I wanted it to feel like [I was] going through my closet and finding pieces that made sense to me and how I wanted to show myself to the world. Ultimately that’s what I’m trying to do—create tools for people so they can express themselves fully.”