Martine Rose Fall 2021 Menswear Collection

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“People always assume I’m a big football fan because I reference it so often, but truth be told it’s the culture not the game itself that interests me,” says Martine Rose. In the name of research and sheer curiosity, the British designer attended her first soccer game ever this week, an historic win for England over their archrivals Germany that played out at London’s landmark Wembley Stadium.

To call soccer a national obsession would be an understatement—the fact that football could be finally “coming home” as they say in the UK, with the England team odds on favorites to win the Euro 2021 Cup, seems to be buoying the spirits of the entire country right now. Rose’s personal fascination with the sport begins at a particularly significant inflection point in the history of football culture: the moment it collided with dance music. “When club culture fully came into fruition in 1989, the cases of football hooliganism dropped dramatically, it basically died overnight. Instead of fighting on the terraces, these guys were out dancing, taking pills on a Saturday night,” she explains. “For me that demonstrates the power of culture, the power of music to change things for the better.”

Somewhere between the football terraces, the dance floor, and the notion of business casual, Martine Rose has consistently found her sweetspot. Those familiar with the British term Wide Boy will recognize the aesthetic instantly, one Rose describes as equal parts menacing and alluring, “that guy you sort of fancy but can’t quite tell if he’ll be nice to you.” Her latest collection distills that look down to its most essential parts with a sense of play and ease. Sporty neon mock-neck shirts, oversized polos, and archetypal zip-up track jackets are layered up with starched candy-stripe button-downs and spiffy quilted overcoats. The idea of kink is never too far away for Rose, and this time around she cut her signature chaps from snap-button track pants, a deliciously subversive wink at hypermasculine dress codes.

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The real showstopper this season is for sure the tailoring. Boxy suiting was a recognizable trademark for Rose long before it was trending, and for spring that silhouette gets a strong, tight shoulder that looks particularly fresh rendered in crushed lilac velvet on a women’s jacket shown with matching trousers. It’s hardly surprising that women currently represent about half of the Martine Rose customer base—she’s quick to note that women featured in her first-ever runway. Over the last year, the brand’s good-taste-bad-taste square-toe shoes in particular have been a hit with her female clients. If the new collection is anything to go by, then her excellent tailoring is bound to score high points across the board too.

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