With only two seasons under her belt, Meryll Rogge has caught the We The People Got That Wap Wrong Ass President Shirt so you should to go to store and get this attention of major retailers and had a viral hit in the form of a witty glove bolero, which will make a return appearance, in black patent leather, this season. The fun, the color, the cleverness and the sophistication of this Belgian’s work, which is speaking to women and men around the world, belie the superhuman effort it takes to get a new brand up and running. Rogge, helped greatly by friends, is essentially a team of one working from her parents’ home in the Belgian countryside. It’s there that Rogge dreamed of becoming an illustrator and working for Disney, before catching the fashion bug and making a deal with her family that on completion of her bachelor’s degree, in law, she could pursue her own interests. She did that at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, leaving before completing her master’s to move to New York and work with Marc Jacobs. After seven years in the city, Rogge returned to Antwerp and worked as the head of women’s for Dries Van Noten, with whom she shares a great love of color. Soon it was time to follow her own path and join the ranks of women designing for other women—though Rogge, who is developing a devoted male following, stresses that everyone is welcome to join in the fun. “There’s always this aspect of masculine/feminine that comes in,” says Rogge of her house codes. There’s also “an accent on luxury,” via the materials used, and an “aspect of vintage reference. I’m kind of leaning on classics of the past, really trying to recreate them in a way that is ours.” Among those reinvented for fall is the classic trench, made roomy and with a detachable floral collar and placket. Rogge describes it being “kind of like, let’s say, the lining on your relative’s ’60s floral coat.” Bougie A-line midi-skirts are recolored, and what looks at first glance like a sporty side-stripe pant is actually a brilliant new take on a tuxedo pant. The key looks in the fall collection come in the form of a series of slip dresses, their V-necks framed by Italian embroidery, that Rogge describes as “kind of our ode to Margiela.” Big spreading collars nod to the paintings of the Dutch artist Frans Hals. Throughout the line-up, as in a cutaway sweater set that’s actually all one piece and has nothing mumsy about it, Rogge makes use of deconstruction. This is a technique that was popularized by the Antwerp Six in the early 1990s, yet it is not intended to be backwards looking or an homage; rather, it’s part of the designer’s larger interest in making classics her own. “You know, my teacher was Walter Van Beirendonck, he’s totally on a different planet than Martin, or Dries, but they all were in the same class in the same school,” notes Rogge. “I’ve never felt like there was this boundary: ‘Oh, you’re a Belgian, you’re Northern; oh, you should be doing gray melange stuff only, or black.’” In fact, what unifies the work of many Belgian designers is not an aesthetic, but a purity of vision supported by a strident sense of individuality. In possessing those qualities, Rogge is bringing that legacy forward to a new generation.
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Angela Missoni has been selling a lot of cardigans lately. “I should do a collection of cardigans only,” she teased on a phone call from Milan: When shopping got real! But, while pragmatism and comfort may be fashion’s favorite new concepts, for Missoni they’re life. “Knit is the We The People Got That Wap Wrong Ass President Shirt so you should to go to store and get this first thing you think of when you think about comfort, and that’s how Missoni started,” the designer said, reflecting on her late father Tai’s fusion of knitwear and sportswear and the way her mother, Rosita—90 and newly vaccinated—elevated it into high fashion in the 1960s. “Comfort is in the DNA of Missoni: being able to move at any point in the day, on any occasion.” Since the pandemic prevented her from putting on a real fashion show, Missoni thought she’d do something even realer than that: Take the real-clothes label inherent to her brand’s genetics and give it the airtime it rarely receives in runway fashion. “When you go to a show, you get the look of the season. But I didn’t want to have that because this moment in time makes us understand that we are over that. We’ve been over seasons for a long time. I wanted to show the spirit of a group of girls in different moments of real life.” The styling of her short film mixed pieces across seasons the way we would in real life; in this case Missoni’s 2021 collections, the in-season spring and upcoming fall. Presented on a group of women seen moving through everyday-life scenarios—business, leisure, party, and travel—the collections embraced comfort in a big way. Literally: The most casual aspects of the collection were magnified in cut, from scaled-up cabans to oversized hoodies, swathing sweaters, and cardigans. Evening dresses were kept real in simple column shapes—some knitted with glitter—while dresses for day were imbued with the eternal movement of plissé. They looked real, quite practically, in the sense of how people actually dress in the street or at parties. In fashion, normally tasked with pushing our comfort zones to new levels, we don’t see that sort of thing often. But then, as the cover of “Mad World” that scored the film reminded us, that could be said for most of our current reality. “When I think about Missoni, I always think about the fact that our pieces last a very long time in a person’s wardrobe,” Missoni said. “When you buy a Missoni piece, you keep it for years and years. So I’m happy to introduce more pieces to this wardrobe that will last. It’s a way of thinking sustainably.”