Review of Martine Rose Fall 2023 Men’s Fashion Show
‘Martine Rose’s Broad Shoulders Carry the Weight of a Stellar International Debut’
By Angela Baidoo
Debuting as the special guest designer for the long-standing menswear trade fair Pitti Uomo in Florence, Martine Rose took over a market square for her particularly unique take on street, sports, and sartorial ungdendered dressing.
Only Rose’s history of tapping into the (sportswear) arena, and her way around mashing up contrasting references, can still continue to give elevating sportswear to the upper echelons of luxury a fresh twist.
For her first showing outside of London, Rose continued her exploration of mining subcultures and melding them together to create a new narrative that always manages to speak to and for her brand. Teasing the collection across her social media channels gave us a retro revisionist version of a TV dance show one might have seen in the 1980s, complete with neon tubular font and disco ball, it gave a preview of the collection to come.
After many a season of luxury designer sporting collaborations, only Rose’s history of tapping into the arena and her way around mashing up contrasting references can still continue to give elevating sportswear to the upper echelons of luxury a fresh twist. Her autumn winter 2023 offering criss-crossed retro club culture, with noughties utility, subverted tailoring, and a subtle nod to western. In particular, as the show was held in the Tuscan capital of Florence, Rose (as she has been known to do) dove into researching the local sporting traditions and was taken by a potent mix of football and rugby called Calcio Storico, which is often still played by the local Florentine men of today, who the designer also cast as models for the show.
Showing in the traditional home of slick sartorial dress codes and hyper-masculine tailoring, the collection was a confident outlier in a country whose menswear market is only just starting to be shaken up by emerging talent – last season saw Magliano and Jordanluca break through as ones to watch on the Milanese menswear calendar.
Her unique way around a silhouette saw suiting take on the shiny retro aesthetic of 70s and 80s Italian discotheques as pinstriped shirts and tailoring paired with slim patterned ties, relaxed leather trousers, and collarless blazers topped with shell jackets of the football variety were interspersed with a surprising yet completely covetable reference to the wild west in the form of fringing across the backs of blazers and fronts of satin shirts, as well as skewed check shirts. A number of jackets, flannel shirts, and cable knitwear incorporated shoulders that were set so high and so broad that the wearer could take on weight of the world.
A welcome addition was the capsule collection of womenswear looks, just as glossy as the men’s, floor-sweeping skinny skirts and shirts were either ready for the rodeo or the electric dancefloor
Martine Rose’s collaboration with Nike’s Shox MR4 sneaker continued with this collection, but alongside the 1990s inspired square-toe leather loafers were some unsuspecting fluffy shearling slippers. Aligning with the mood of the four-day trade fair where comfort – in form of fluffy textures and cosy cashmeres – reigned supreme, the designer provided some credible accessories for the wholesale adoption of the WFH lifestyle.
A capsule collection of womenswear looks was a welcome addition, just as glossy as the men’s, floor-sweeping skinny skirts and shirts were either ready for the rodeo or the electric dancefloor, and a fur-trimmed bubble-gum pink maximalist puffer is sure to open up Rose to a whole new audience, not just of the nearly 50% of her customer base who are made up of women, but of the Generation labelled Z who are obsessed with all things #Barbiecore, set to peak with this summer’s 2023 release of the film, movie-goers will now have the ultimate outfit to wear to the premiere.