Watches & Jewellery

Get to Know Christopher John Rogers, The CFDA Emerging Designer of the Year

Rising designer Christopher John Rogers talks to L'Officiel about his grandmother's penchant for jewellery, and styling the latest Tiffany collection with his muse Alek Wek.
Reading time 4 minutes

Christopher John Rogers is fashion's new king of colour. A fashion designer on a meteoric rise, he has become a favorite of influential women from Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Cardi B,and most recently, Lady Gaga at the VMAs, for his use of bright hues and his unabashed love of glamour. His vibrant, over-the-top runway shows have attracted significant public attention, and he was recently named 2020's American Emerging Designer of the Year by the CFDA. 

L'Officiel scouted the globe for the best up-and-coming fashion designers and asked each of them to interpret jewellery collections from iconic American jeweller Tiffany & Co. With Rogers' modern vision and love for glamour, we knew he had to be a part of this special collaboration. We visited Roger's design studio in New York City's Soho, where film director Lisa Immordino Vreeland captured him styling supermodel Alek Wek for his fall collection, paired with yellow diamonds and the latest Tiffany T1 collection.

Alongside Angel Chen and Antonin Tron of Atlein, Rogers interprets the timeless elegance of Tiffany jewellery. Read ahead and meet this emerging talent - and to see his vision of modern glamour come to life.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland: When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?

Christopher John Rogers: When I was in elementary school. My friends and I used to draw comic books and make little characters all the time. 

I started to investigate what clothing and costume could mean for a character and their personality, and how it could imbue them with some new powers they didn't have before. That's when I started thinking about fashion as a medium for expression.

After that moment, I started going on YouTube and looking up old fashion shows. McQueen shows from the 90s and early 2000s, and John Galliano. I got really enraptured with the idea of creating a world and performing theater. Really creating entire fantasies, not just clothes.

Is there a woman you have in mind as a reference point? 

I think the women or the people that I always reference end up being my closest friends, who are always their own person. 

It’s really about a person who mixes and matches different things, who isn't beholden to one type of aesthetic or reference, and who creates their own world—not to impress anyone, but solely because they enjoy the journey of getting dressed.

You have to be super self-assured to feel comfortable in these clothes. I also hope that even if you aren't, the clothes can help you muster that within yourself.

You clearly love colour. What does colour mean to you?

Colour is the way that I see the world, more than any specific reference, any decade, or type of garment, or silhouette. 

It's a way to make people feel happy. It's what has always made me feel happy. My fifth grade school picture was me in head-to-toe yellow, which looking back, was hilarious. And my mom was like, "I don't know what you're wearing." 

What is your personal relationship with jewellery like? 

My grandmother had a ton of jewellery and she definitely loved it, loved it, loved it. She always dressed monochromatically and presented herself head-to-toe in one colour, so whether it was costume jewellery that was red that matched her red suit, or it was diamonds that she wore with an all-white ensemble, it was really for her, and all about self-expression and not really taking it too seriously. That aesthetic and that point of view has manifested itself into the work that I do.

How was working with Alek Wek on this project? What kind of story are you telling together?

Alek is one of my top inspirations. Whenever I think of high glam and high fashion, I think of Alek. And that’s definitely something that we’re all about here at CJR: self-expression, taking up space, and being glamorous wherever you go. So whether it is a black tie event or you’re just walking down the street to grab a carton of milk, fashioning yourself in a way that allows you to be most yourself. 

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