The development of Meryll Rogge’s spring collection, from first ideations to final stage, didn’t follow a straight path. While thinking generally about packing and lost luggage the designer stumbled upon an Instagram account devoted to chic airport style. “There was something about the vibe and this idea of traveling, and how it’s gone through different stages. How it used to be a glamorous thing and how now it’s frowned upon and people are trying to avoid it,” said Rogge on a call. These thoughts, plus her usual preoccupation with deconstruction and re-proportioning classical wardrobe pieces (there was a strong emphasis on trousers as well as trenches and Barbour-like jackets) led to the creation of an enchanting sartorial pensée on time.
“The annoying thing, and the beautiful thing, about fashion is that there’s a deadline. It’s not like making music or a movie, or even architecture, where you can vary in time. Here, it’s six months,” she said. Not only do fashion weeks fly by in constant succession, she noted, but some fashion shows, “last for one minute and they’re done…. The pictures last forever, but it seems a bit mental the whole thing, so we made a decision to at least slow down our presentation.” It was the designer’s first and was held in an apartment where the furniture, some of it upturned, was covered with drop cloths as if it had been forgotten, lost, or frozen in time.
The models who brought the clothes to life also got the clock ticking, so to speak. Some were wearing inflated short-shorts, perhaps inspired by the way nylon track pants can blow up, but these were the most extreme elements of a lineup with a strong focus on outerwear, an essential element of travel. The styling alternated between polished and disheveled—as the press statement put it, “clothes become the unlikely players of a material poem.”
The preponderance of lingerie looks suggested the act of getting dressed and undressed, but also the inner life versus the public-facing one. Prep was channeled via Meryll Rogge club sweaters worn with roomy trousers or maxi denim skirts and luxury-style loafers. The counterpart to the latter were beaded party shoes that had a morning-after kind of feeling.
Bricolage is always a part of Rogge’s work, both in terms of construction, and the vintage aesthetic she favors. Layering contributed to the puzzled together feeling of some of the collection. It was easy to imagine someone having to put on miscellaneous items to bring a suitcase down to weight, for example; or not knowing what to do with a winter coat when arriving in a tropical climate. Travel morphs expectations as it does time.
The series of dresses that closed the show combined satin and (souvenir) t-shirt jersey with motifs like palm trees and swans. They spoke to how we try to capture things that are transient. There are conscious actions, like buying the post-card, hoodie, or key chain, and then there is the way that our human existence is captured and preserved in fabric. Wrinkles and creases are evidence of our existence, as is mending. Clothing is pliant and can be folded, rolled, and hitched up to help us find comfort and move freely through space, and through life.