On Thursday, the platform released a new trailer for the show, premiering on July 8, complete with a staged Christopher John Rogers fashion show. In the teaser, viewers can see Upper East Sider Julien Calloway (played by Jordan Alexander), a popular influencer and Constance Billard attendee, close a CJR fashion show, dressed in a black-and-white look from Christopher John Rogers’ spring 2021 collection (jump to 1:27 to see). The trailer also shows Calloway wearing a black, corseted evening gown by the designer (0:57), as well as models wearing other pieces from the same collection (0:39). Refinery29 reached out to Christopher John Rogers, who had no comment about the looks featured in the trailer.
Ever since Christopher John Rogers launched his namesake brand in 2016, the CFDA Fashion Award winner has injected an otherworldly vibe into the fashion world with oversized shapes, impossibly vibrant colours, and standout prints, coveted by Rihanna, Rosalía, Zendaya, and Tracee Ellis Ross. In 2021, Vice President Kamala Harris donned a purple coat from the designer to be sworn in on Inauguration Day in January. The designer also launched a collaboration collection with Target this year.
Since the pandemic took hold, the brand hasn’t been able to return to the NYFW runway, instead, showcasing fall and spring 2021 digitally. As such, it’s exciting to see the looks from the spring 2021 collection — including a slew of mismatched zebra and checkered black-and-white printed garments, neon dresses, balloon-shaped skirts, and bold monochrome suits — coming to life on the runway in the series.
This move to spotlight CJR is a departure from the big-name designers showcased on the original TV show. And, although the episodes were filled with socialites, designers, and celebrities, the show’s runway moments were few and far between and often focused on fictional designers. Take, for example, Eleanor Waldorf’s designs, which were created by ghost designer Abigail Lorick, and Jenny Humphrey's (short-lived) fashion line.
The show’s creators have signalled that the reboot is committed to bringing diversity into the Upper East Side, and choosing to highlight the work of the Baton Rouge-born Black designer is certainly on the right track. Watch the runway show in Episode 1 when the series premieres next month.