If any designer was going to shut down a London cul-de-sac and host a runway show slash street party, it was going to be Martine Rose. Last night, the London born, raised, and based designer closed off the beautiful St Leonard’s Square in north London for SS19, lining up two rows of chairs on either side of the road. As residents watched from their gates and windows, models hit the pavement in a show which was “a love letter to London” according to Rose. “London’s going through a bit of a funny time at the minute and I think it needs a bit of love,” she said afterwards, referring perhaps to the recent spike in violence which has seen police blame music rather than longstanding inequalities.
The collection drew once more on Rose’s youth in London, but the 90s raver of past seasons was growing up a bit – the rave flyers from AW14 were repurposed into a buttoned-up shirt, and previously wide-legged jeans came in closer to the leg. A logo was inspired by a Tottenham mechanic’s and recreated to say ‘MARTINE ROSE: your local expert’. The muse of the season? “He’s a bit of a geezer.”
Models included lots of local boys – one of whose mother watched proudly and even wiped away a tear as he walked to the remix of “Unfinished Symphony”. After the finale, food came out and a celebration began, rounding off the kind of show concept that only Rose – who previously brought guests to a Seven Sisters market and a North London climbing gym – would think of, tapping genuinely into the spirit can that make this city such a special place to live.