Even before the Christopher John Rogers show began, the unabashedly optimistic styles by the Louisiana-born, New York-based designer were on full display. The attendees in the line outside of a Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse, where Collection 10 was unveiled on Tuesday, were decked out in the CFDA Fashion Award winner’s striped sweaters, bold suiting, and corsets, as well as neon colours that paid homage to the brand’s signature palette. Given that the creative — who is also known for his whimsy prints and fanciful silhouettes — hasn’t shown a new collection on the catwalk in two years, it’s an understatement to say that the show was highly anticipated.
This is not to say that the brand has disappeared from the public’s eye since the pandemic took hold. On the contrary, in that time, Christopher John Rogers collaborated with Target, staged a faux show in the Gossip Girl reboot, landed a prime viewing spot in Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” exhibit, and dressed Sex and the City’s Sarah Jessica Parker for the 2022 Met Gala red carpet — all while continuing to release new collections digitally. And though these are all career highlights in their own right, they hardly compare to the moment when the designer was introduced to a global audience when Kamala Harris wore a purple Christopher John Rogers coat look on Inauguration Day.
Or at least that seemed to be the sentiment expressed when Karlie Kloss opened last night’s show dressed in a purple double-breasted, belted coat reminiscent of the look the Vice President sported in January 2021.
While several of the styles that followed felt somewhat new for the designer — the minimalist (at least compared to Rogers’ previous iterations) floral print, utilitarian cargo pants, and brown plaid suiting — many more served as an evolution of the pieces that came in collections prior: colourful matching sets, graphic black-and-white designs, bulbous skirts, and artfully clashing prints. (The latter culminated in one particularly standout look that featured floral pants, a striped cardigan, and a checkerboard coat.) That ability to mix-and-match pieces from different collections will delight the CJR fans who aren’t able to buy more than a single item a season from the brand whose prices start at around $500 (approximately £398) for a top.
"There's a sense of curiosity and play present in these looks, while also being demonstrative about highlighting the continued evolution of the work and a level of nuanced sophistication that's always been at the core of the clothes," Rogers said about the collection in a press release.
If verdant shades of green were the dominating colours of the last collection, Barbie pink was the standout shade this time around, with the Legally Blonde-approved hue appearing on silky separates, asymmetrical dresses, and outerwear. While the collection featured a multitude of styles with no singular theme — in fact, Rogers told Vogue that he “like[d] the idea of multiplicity and that so many things through one specific scope can shine” — it led heavily with deconstructed skirt and pant suits and business-casual separates in monochrome colours, which is fitting for the new era of workwear that hybrid workplaces have inspired.
During Pride, when brands put out one unfortunate rainbow collection after another, it was refreshing to see what good kaleidoscopic fashion could look like. Rogers’ impeccable eye for bold combinations came through yet again in colourful buttons on an otherwise-black suit paired with multicoloured boots created by Christian Louboutin for the show, striped sweaters underneath menswear-inspired blazers, and a vibrant ballgown dress featuring punchy horizontal strips that will no doubt appear on the red carpet at some point.