Following on from her FW16 comeback, Martine Rose’s return to menswear since her two-season hiatus has been nothing but triumphant. From collaborating with director Sharna Osborne on a three-minute film presentation for her FW16 collection to consulting on the first menswear show for Balenciaga in June – the busy London-based designer makes it all look effortless.
This is certainly true when it comes to her SS17 collection, which mixes unconventional garments like football shirts and snakeskin print jackets and makes them appear as though they naturally complement each other. Although known for her 90’s raver inspiration, for SS17 Rose has taken a different perspective and dropped her skinhead-meets-club kid ‘guy’ altogether – but don’t worry, she hasn’t lost her staple trousers. Here she tells us about the inspiration behind her latest collection, the photographer that influenced her look book and her thoughts on Brexit.
Natalie Turco-Williams: Tell me about the inspiration behind your SS17 collection…
Martine Rose: The spirit of this season was loosely based upon the idea of when found clothes become re-appropriated and used for a totally different intention, for example the idea of football shirts. They mean so much here [in the UK] but when they’re taken out of context it just becomes a kind of fabric that doesn’t have any context within football at all. I wanted to create this notion that the clothes have been cut to fit someone else and then rediscovered leaving a residue or a feeling that someone else has owned them but they’re still yours. So, clothes have been cut away from the body or really oversized or visibly adjusted to refit the new wearer.
NTW: In previous collections your guy has either been a skinhead or a raver, how would you describe him in this collection, especially with your inspiration of “previous owners”?
MR: I didn’t really have a character that I was working with this season or a defined person. It was more about working with the idea of a wardrobe, like a broad spectrum of pieces that shouldn’t really work together but do in terms of odd fabrications and a colour palette left to its own devices, so it’s not engineered in any way. It was more about the idea of people putting clothes together and getting a different feeling every time, like the breath of anyone’s wardrobe.
NTW: You’ve always been known for your unique presentation of your collections, what was the inspiration behind your look book this time?
MR: This season, as I was describing about the randomness of the collection, I was looking a lot at Cindy Sherman and I came across her series called The Bus Riders quite early in my inspiration. ‘The Bus Riders’ was one of Cindy’s first works after she graduated and it really resonated with me because I felt that is what the collection was representing in a way; it could represent lots of different people on a bus and it was just so powerful in its simplicity, so really the look book was an homage to her works.
NTW: So SS17 is your second collection since your two-season hiatus, how does it feel being back?
MR: It’s amazing, really amazing. I feel like I’ve come back with a different perspective. I don’t think you can have a child and it not shift your perspective. Having time out really helped me to realise that I love what I do and it’s such a privilege to be able to do it. I work with amazing people and I get to create stories every day – it’s a pretty amazing gift to have.
NTW: I know you’ve been travelling around Europe a little bit this past month, are you worried that Brexit might affect your label?
MR: I feel quite horrified that the decision has been to leave – much wider than my own personal circumstances with the label because obviously it’s going to have massive implications for me – but just in a broader sense in the direction we want to go in as a country. I mean, it’s devastating. I feel really worried and sad that the outcome has been to leave.
NTW: So what have you been up to besides your SS17 collection, have you got any more projects lined up?
MR: I recently consulted for Balenciaga for their first men’s show, which was pretty amazing. I do have lots of projects on the horizon that I’m really excited about, but none of the i’s and t’s have been dotted or crossed yet.
Lookbook credits: Models OLYMPIA SCARRY, TARO SMITH, JAMES WREFORD, photography ALEXANDRO GORDIENKO, fashion TAMARA ROTHSTEIN