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Martine Roses' Milan Fashion Week debut packs a punch

Martine Roses' Milan Fashion Week debut packs a punch
Martine Roses' Milan Fashion Week debut packs a punch

 




CNN

With leaflets strewn across the floor, metal barriers covered in recycled plastic, and a sporadic assemblage of plastic chairs arranged in a dimly lit art space south of central Milan, British menswear designer Martine Rose avoided varnish Often associated with Italy's fashion capital, giving guests a taste of the authentic charm of its native North London.

I wanted it to be a bit of a mess, Rose said before the show on Sunday which marked her debut on the Milan Fashion Week schedule after years of presenting her brand in London. I want people to be interested in it and for it to have this beauty, but not in a way [instantly] recognizable [way].

This circuitous starting point is a long-standing signature of the Roses brand and one that has undoubtedly helped make her one of the most sought-after and influential designers of her generation.

As well as running her business which remained independent from its launch in 2007 until The Tomorrow Group invested in 2021, she has consulted behind the scenes for major fashion houses including Balenciaga, was shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH Fashion Prize, among others, and was selected. won the coveted Menswear Designer of the Year trophy at the 2023 Fashion Awards.

For her Spring-Summer 2025 show, she continued to question traditional concepts of masculinity and classic tailoring codes. Dedicated to expressions of beauty born from disruption, humor and sex, according to the show notes, the collection included whipstitch T-shirts worn with tartan shorts and fishnet socks; a festive shirt with portraits of the Roses studio team and their families; and disproportionate cuts with cinched waists and broad-shouldered blazers worn with leather pants featuring front zippers for easy access.

Her collection includes hot pink balaclavas tucked into pencil skirts.

There's a familiar subversion but I never intend for things to be shocking, she explained. The things I put on the catwalks, I sincerely believe, are real propositions for men. For example, sporty polo shirts and bright pink balaclavas tucked perfectly into pencil skirts.

There's something more radical about a man wearing a pencil skirt and I'm curious why, because there's nothing particularly radical about the understated length and we see Bermuda shorts and kilts of that length, Rose said. These are questions that I find really interesting, not about gender but about clothes. And the men look great in it.

In an added twist, prosthetic noses were given to each model, each of which was molded on the street in Milan. Rose does this for all of his shows, again emphasizing the importance of the hometown hero, a phrase that appeared as logos on baseball caps and silk ties.

Milan is something of an ideal host for the Roses brand, with the two sharing a sense of intrigue from first impression. While Milan's austere architecture hides its hidden gardens and warm hospitality, the contrasting setting and outward attitude of Rose's shows are portals to a creative conversation that has community at its heart. As Rose notes about Milan, this is slowly revealing itself.

The fact that Rose chose to present his collection in Milan this season (having previously shown in Florence and Paris) rather than London is a further blow to the British Fashion Councils (BFC) menswear programme, which was once a hotbed of emerging talent, but has lost a number of key brands, including JW Anderson, A-Cold-Wall and Wales Bonner, to other fashion weeks over the past six years.

Rose once again challenged traditional concepts of masculinity and classic codes of couture.

You would think I would come back and appreciate London more, but actually it makes me realize what London has lost and continues to lose, she said in reference to what she sees as a lack of investment in the industry. All other European cities seem to take [creativity] seriously and it makes me sad. And then of course there's Brexit, and that's actually a disaster for the whole creative sector.

Despite the direct value of the British fashion industry to the British economy of almost 21 billion (around $27 billion), according to the BFC, and despite the fact that fashion graduates occupy leading positions at international fashion houses for decades, Rose said, is incredibly infuriating and depressing. that it is not taken seriously. As soon as you get a certain type of success and recognition you have to move to Paris or Italy to be seen, the natural thing is to leave London and that's ridiculous.

There is [designers] They're doing really interesting things, it's just that they're not getting any support from anywhere else to do it, she continued. Rents are impossible, they don't receive any subsidies on their own, which is really difficult to maintain.

Following the enthusiastic reception at Sunday's show, it appears London's loss is Milan's gain.

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