Christopher John Rogers' color factory
By Iris Edén Santiago
Special to The Star
The ever-evolving fashion industry is lucky to have hundreds of new recruits every season. Some are a flash in the pan while others stay for the long haul.
But once every blue moon, an up-and-coming designer with tons of vision, new techniques and a real fresh take on design revolutionizes everything in Fashiontown, and the game is forever changed. I believe one of those individuals is Christopher John Rogers.
Born and raised in Louisiana, CJR has taken the catwalk labyrinth by storm. Since establishing his label in New York in 2016, the 29-year-old has impeccably dressed A-listers left and right. Celebrities adore his approach to design and his natural gift for making them explore beyond the classics, and shine. Michelle Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris are two happy customers. The latter wore a custom CJR purple dress and matching coat to none other than the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.
On Monday night another A-lister joined his followers. Meghan Markle chose to wear a creation by Christopher John Rogers at the annual NAACP Image Awards. The Duchess of Sussex wore a one shoulder blue-ombre dress with a flowing cape and a revealing slit.
Rogers is well known for his powerful unapologetic use of color. He is not being dramatic or flamboyant for the sake of it. He is driven and confident. And he is armed with a new perspective on design that allows him to take patterns and graphics to the extreme and use an oversaturated color palette, while not hurting your eyes. CJR loves the infusion of polka dots, plaid, checkers and stripes -- vertical or horizontal -- to create his emblematic sweater dresses, maxis, suits, skirts and gowns. He adores breaking the rules and blowing your mind. And most importantly, he succeeds.
The designer, who won the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) American Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2021, totally scores with the intensity of color in his collections. He goes for brights, neon, iridescent and, occasionally, utilizes softer hues and white. He works with the whole Crayola box. Shades of tangerine, lime and hibiscus, clearly favorites, are jaw-dropping in any of his popular and happy silhouettes: strawberry skirts, tulip-shaped dresses, tight corsets, and balloon trousers.
The reason it all works is because there is precision, vision. Also, impeccable tailoring. He controls volume, movement and proportion down to a T. And then watch the perfect pleating, the cuffs, the lapels, the ruffles, the detailing.
Other celebrities he has worked with: Regina King, Cynthia Nixon, Zendaya, Julia Garner, Beyoncé, Tracee Ellis Ross, Miley Cirus and Lady Gaga. He is also responsible for the now iconic white suit worn by Adele for her interview with Oprah back in November. Made in double-faced Italian wool, the suit was embellished with Swarovski crystals pipping on the sides and seams of both the jacket and trousers.
A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, CJR was the 2019 winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. A year later, he received the CFDA’s Emerging Designer Award.
Ukrainian models speak: The war in Ukraine
At a time when the world is forced to watch in horror as Russian forces invade Ukraine, it is hard to focus on anything else. Russian and Ukrainian fashion models have not remained mute. They are expressing their support for Ukraine and their outrage and complete disapproval of Vladimir Putin’s attacks. According to dozens of posts, they want to go home to a safe country. Our prayers go out to them.