Whether it’s the ongoing “blokecore” look being popularized on TikTok or the widespread adoration for Demna Gvasalia’s bizarre creations at Balenciaga, one can trace many of today’s biggest trends back to Martine Rose, whose label presented a surprise, off-calendar, presentation in South London on Sunday night. The designer’s first live presentation in two years was held under a set of arches in Vauxhall, a neighborhood historically known as a safe haven for London’s LGBTQ+ community. The collection was aptly inspired by “clothing accidents involved in urgent sexual encounters or hurried dressing afterward.” What that translated into was everyman looks built off garments that played with shrunken silhouettes and proportions.
Tight leather jackets and vests were accompanied by jeans and cargo pants bearing accentuated zipper flies. BDSM-inspired hardware was attached to the zippers of pants and other accessories such as necklaces. Cropped bomber jackets that tightened at the torso and bear baggy sleeves created a hybrid slim-oversize look. Footwear included new takes on Rose’s Bulb Toe shoe from her autumn/winter 2022 collection, which includes an updated Chelsea and work boot style. A collaboration with Nike was also unveiled, centered on a pair of Nike Shox. Rose’s take on the shoe boasted an angular toe box, a mule-esque open back, and arrived in all-white and black/red colorways on the runway. As always, Rose’s latest collection also featured a robust selection of outerwear and sportswear with standouts including blue nylon tracksuits, oversize windbreaker pullovers, and tight-fitting ski jackets with elongated sleeves.
There’s a reason why Louis Vuitton CEO Micheal Burke was one of those attending Rose’s presentation on Sunday evening. There are few designers who are able to tap into the cool niche communities that make up diverse cities like London and produce garments that feel wearable for almost anyone. A designer who understands the trickle-up economics of fashion is someone whom luxury labels like Balenciaga, Dior, and Louis Vuitton desperately need and Burke, who hired the late Virgil Abloh, certainly has some big shoes to fill.