Martine Rose SS24 Transported us to the Beating Heart of Great British Nightlife

Hypebeast speaks to the designer about the collection, discussing sex, menswear, traditions, music culture and more.

Fashion 
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Martine Rose, London’s master of menswear, has done it again. Taking to a community hall in North London, the designer proves that she is one of the very few that can summon the UK fashion scene’s glitterati to the depths of the city for a show, just as she did last season at Pitti Uomo.

Such prowess and impact is Rose’s niche. It takes a much-loved name to draw quite the crowd, and as we clambered into the community hall — with pints of Stella Artois and bags of Irish Tayto chips in hand — it all became clear that this was a family affair, celebrating a London darling.

More on that point, Rose’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection was an ode to what makes London great. It brought people together through the power of community and nuanced understandings of dressing for the occasion. For SS24, that was a big ‘ol London rave.

However, the codes were not overt. Look deeper and you’ll find them, as there is a cultural reference in the hi-vis jacket (not worn with the hi-vis trousers, may we add), the floral cropped tank top, the use of acid green on loose shirts worn atop silky nighties, and chrome psychedelia swarming across elongated boyfriend shirts. The attitude was comfort and familiarity: Martine Rose as you know and love it, only brought back to the designer’s hometown of London, for Londoners, by Londoners.

It resulted in plenty of wearability. While many of the elements were daring, nothing was too far off-kilter. Take the bright yellow bomber jacket, for example, that was covered in beer-bottle caps and Camden punk-rocker safety pins. This was paired with gray cut-off jogging shorts, elevated with a varsity-like Martine Rose logo. On the contrary, an extravagant faux jacket detailed with suede pockets was worn with a humble pair of straight leg, light-blue-wash jeans, the latter of which was buckled towards the cuff. A particular standout, for us, was the red workwear jacket, cut in a tough and durable cordura-like material but cinched at the waist and revealing enough to show the floral shirt beneath.

Martine Rose SS24 was the perfect exercise in finding a balance between restraint and raucous. It’s the same ethos when it came to the footwear, as the designer took her familiar Nike Shox MR4 silhouette (which was informed by formal cues) and covered in it paint splatters. Similarly, she also previewed a first look at the upcoming creations from the “Coming Up Roses” collection by Martine Rose for Clarks, with a men’s Oxford and a women’s heeled loafer, both featured in black leather and mock-exotic takes.

For Hypebeast, this was Martine Rose at her very best. But here is what the designer had to say herself, on how she followed on from Pitti to deliver her standout show today:

Hypebeast: How has it been since Pitti Uomo?

Martine Rose: Pitti was such a mind-blowing experience on so many levels. It’s such a prestigious platform and it was an honor to be involved; I was way out of my comfort zone — obviously — because I was showing in another city and I didn’t know how I was going to transport all of those ideas and moods [to Florence]. I underestimated it, how visible it all was. I just went with it.

But since then, the response has been amazing. It has raised my profile to those who would either not have experienced my shows, or would not have taken much notice before, perhaps.

I’m really happy to come back to London. I now know that I can go to other cities and transport it there; other cities are exciting but I will always be here [in London].

As a result, have you approached SS24 differently?

Pitti felt like one experience that I was able to do and create this… quite glam experience. It was very Italian, it was very much for that city; I wanted to interact with the people and all of that sort of stuff to respect Italian culture.

Coming back to the UK, I wanted a completely different feeling. It’s another city, it’s way more intimate in terms of the space. There was an intimacy in Florence, but there was also a distance.

It was very grand. 

It was! And I wanted a different experience when bringing it back here. Florence was a particular reference to Italian club culture, and bringing it back to the UK, this is also a reference to club culture — but completely different. And also community.

There were specific places in the UK to go clubbing — community centers, youth centers, ballrooms, all that sort of stuff. It’s quite low-fi I guess, because it’s in a community center in Highgate. Community centers were, at one point, very British places. But as each wave of immigration came in, each community made its own community center, there are Polish ones, Turkish ones, West Indian ones, African ones. Every community can relate to a community center.

I like to create this world for a minute. I want to pull people in.

The links between a community center and dance culture are clear — is this what you’re ultimately exploring?

Yeah. These places are for a lot of different important things; they were used to serve the community, for whatever community that is. At one time, they were really important centers of culture, music culture.

How do these themes come into the collection itself?

I have things that are circular, things that I am into all the time. I am always into music and club culture. There are things people will see and say, “Yeah, I get it.” But I wouldn’t say I’ve designed into the space; you’re not going to see club-wear.

So what was the point of view for SS24?

We’ve taken a lot of feminine clothing and applied it to menswear, lots of stately lady’s cuts, A-line cuts on menswear pieces. Draping is explored in tailoring, which is, traditionally, a women’s code. But it’s on the shoulders… There’s a feeling of things being found.

I’m excited by style. There’s a feeling of being pre-owned and pre-loved. Linen suits, classic summer suits that have been given a particular sun-washed kind of treatment. Denim that’s well-worn. Baseball caps are cut-off and fraying. It’s a loved feeling.

Fashion is more gender-fluid than ever before. I’m assuming that’s not where you’re intending to go, but how do you interpret it and address it?

I don’t mind how people want to interpret my clothes. It’s not for everyone, and it’s for some. It’s as simple as that.

I love menswear and I love womenswear, and I love the tension of putting the two together. A man dressing in women’s clothes is sexy, a woman dressing in men’s clothing is sexy.

Your collections are quite sexy — it’s not sex appeal, but instead subverted, weird, awkward, and kinky.

I like kinks.

I like what it brings. It’s an attitude, isn’t it? I try to embody an attitude that feels real; there’s confidence in men feeling sexy in it and feeling confident in it, and being convincing in it. Not dress-up, it’s a real proposition.

Not being provocative for the sake of it!

Not being provocative. I think it’s a genuine proposition. I’m putting a question out there: this is, is this, possible? I like people to talk around it.

I love women in dresses, of course. And there’s a conversation of women in men’s clothes that feels familiar now, but it’s still a proposition for women, [to] feel strong and sexy.

These are constant themes of the brand. How is it developed for SS24?

There are some new silhouettes that I haven’t pushed before — A-line silhouettes feel very new to me. I hope it feels new and familiar.

And for the Nike Shox MR4 collaboration — how does it fit into the collection?

Well, it’s not paint splatters… It’s based on goalie gloves.

Everything comes from football. It’s on that.

Sportswear has always been a major part of my collections. It underpins street culture, youth culture, London culture. They’ve always been a part of this fashion repertoire. The MR4 is based on a smart shoe, making a smart shape into a trainer. It’s really that, and I can’t not have a trainer now.

Martine Rose SS24 can be seen in the gallery above. Stay tuned to Hypebeast across June for coverage of Milan and Paris Fashion Week.

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