Martine Rose RTW Spring 2024
Far-flung “destination” concerts may be this year’s craze, but nothing beats the destination-sensation of a local Martine Rose show. This time, she convened one of her inimitable human inter-generational slices of real life at St Joseph’s Community Centre in Highgate, north London, where children, teens, parents, aunties, uncles, and assorted fashion folk gathered on a sunny Sunday evening to enjoy each other’s company. Nobody else is capable of highlighting a program with such a socially conscious spirit.
Before there were actual club venues, people from many communities used community centers and youth clubs to host their club nights. Wherever waves of immigrants have arrived in London—West Indian, Turkish, Polish, Irish—everyone has their own community center. “They’re vital, the lifeblood,” Rose explained. “And this one is pristine. I felt it would be fun for folks to sit down, have a drink, and feel drawn into something.”
Her living celebration of London subcultural customs began with a reggae explosion. Martine Rose’s array of characters strolled out wearing clothing piled in her subversively kinky takes on men’s and women’s wear. “I enjoy experimenting with gender roles.” It’s incredibly sexy to me—I like males dressed as ladies and women dressed as men. It’s stuff I’ve been tinkering with for a long time. And I believe it is a viable concept. It’s not a gimmick, it’s a legitimate proposal.
There was a whole and unmistakable wardrobe of repeating Rose hallmarks, including her giant fitted jackets, massive floor-sweeping coats, and reappropriated hi-viz industrial and sportswear. She used worn-in, washed, and patinated materials to give it a sense of lived-in ownership. “Because I dislike it when things appear new.” “There’s a kind of mending—like denim patched with gaffer tape,” she explained. Rose based the hunched-forward shouderline of women’s leather coats on the posture of motorcycle riders. Her ideas always seem to emerge from socially witnessed transferences—from the pre-existing, from gestures or half-dressed slip-ups. Her skirts for ladies were inside out, with pleats bursting from underlinings to create a cool volume. Then there were her witty comebacks. “I’ve always liked the tension between two poles in menswear.” I’m employing classics like tailoring and sportswear, but the opposite pole must be fairly far away. So I was looking at stuff like Barbour coats cut on a ’50s women’s a-line, corsetry, and pearls.” And then you notice a very British class joke going on.
Martine Rose’s extraordinary talent for creating serious fashion is the reason for her international acclaim. One example is her footwear—for example, her Nike Shox MR 4 mule-sneakers jacked up on spring heels. There’s virtually a Martine Rose shoe store now, with clunky square-toed loafers and tapered long-nosed kitten-heeled slip-ons for both sexes. This season also marks the debut of her plumped-up shapes as Clarks’ guest design director. “They stated that their major goal is comfort. So I said, okay! Let’s make it insanely comfortable, like a foot cushion!” Clarks is an egalitarian British footwear manufacturer that has long been associated with high streets and the nostalgia of family life. What could be a greater fit for Martine Rose’s ethos?
This year, fashion designer Martine Rose has been hailed as the “new menswear messiah” and a remarkable talent to the fashion world.
Known for her innovative use of streetwear silhouettes and bold styling, Rose has pioneered a new breed of menswear in the 21st century and has become a favourite of celebrities and street style stars alike.
The London-based designer is known for her use ofbold colour combinations, an off-kilter take on classic menswear items, and unique materials. With a background in graphic design, Rose produces pieces that often blur the lines between fashion and art.
Rose’s collections often explore notions of masculinity, identity and class. She describes her designs as “thoughtful, playful, and respectful of British workwear and subculture” and this ethos is clear to see in her work.
In addition to her own line, Rose has also launched collaborative collections with the likes of Moncler, Nike, and Vans. Her work often takes traditional silhouettes and styles and subverts them in her own unique way.
This season, Rose has continued to refine her aesthetic with strong, political overtones, taking aim on issues from gender norms to Brexit uncertainty.
Rose’s standout designs have made her one of the most talked about designers of the moment and critical reception to her collections has gained her more media attention than ever before.
In an era where experimentation is becoming increasingly important, Rose’s work has led to a resurgence in menswear design. She has become a staple in the fashion lexicon and we can’t wait to see what she will come up with next.