Today marks the beginning of New York Fashion Week, the first capital to host the Spring/Summer 2024 collections. While there is perhaps more buzz around the Big Apple than there has been over the past few years, you won’t find the most recent collection by Christopher John Rogers on any runway. Instead, the New York-based designer has lent his eye to pigment and print, to the equally colour-conscious British manufacturer of paints and wallpapers, Farrow & Ball.

At previous Fashion Weeks, the designer was the star of the show, garnering a reputation for his decisive use of bold colour and lively ballroom silhouettes. This time round Christopher brings the daring energy of this designs into the home, marking his second foray into interiors after he collaborated on a colourful furniture collection, alongside Irish design studio and furniture manufacturer, Orior. 

 “I love that this collection allows people to bring that CJR joy into their home and interior. After the last few years, I think we can all use a bit of vibrancy in our lives,” says Charlotte Cosby, Creative Director at Farrow & Ball, who approached the designer about the collaboration last spring.

The new collection, Carte Blanche, is rooted in the mutual appreciation for colour shared between Christopher and Charlotte, who explains, “We really wanted to work with a partner who loved colour and pattern as much as we do. Initially, I admired the intelligent use of colour in Christopher’s work – the bold vibrant shades, of course, but really the way he combines colour in an unexpected way.” 

Because caught up with Christopher to find out more… 

Can you tell us a bit more about how the collaboration came about?
Charlie and Amy reached out last spring. We had a call and they mentioned how they were looking to do a collaboration and immediately I thought that it just made so much sense.  There are so many parallels between the two brands. Obviously, there's an affinity for colour and for making work that makes you feel something but which, also has a certain level of quality. 

When people think of intense or declarative colour, it can sometimes lack certain sophistication, yet with both brands, that's always at the forefront. It was also a great opportunity as Farrow & Ball is such a heritage brand, and we’re relatively new. We've only been selling clothes for three years and we've only been presenting collections for four years.

Why do you think your work lends itself so well to the home?
I try and teeter between the worlds of things that maybe are a bit more high-octane and specific but that also feel quite classic. With the home or just spaces in general, you want to feel like it's reflective of you but at the same time, you have to sit with these colours over time. 

I was really excited to be able to flex my muscles in ways that I haven't before and just be able to provide tools for people to express themselves, regardless of where they fit into this spectrum. You have really bright colours like “Romesco,” which is a really gorgeous red, all the way down to “Au Lait,” or “Cardamom”, which are neutrals that still have some bite to them and some personality. I think it's really about giving people the option to make decisions for themselves, as opposed to being overly prescriptive.

What challenges and opportunities did this collaboration present you with?
I think people often assume that I only work with brights. There's so much nuance in colour and so many ways you can use and approach it. In a garment, sometimes the scale is much smaller than a room or a wall and so you're able to pack a lot of punch. Finding a middle ground and being able to propose colours that, again, sat in that middle space, while not being tepid, was a great opportunity for me. 

The colours you've developed reference your personal life, tell us a bit more about why you chose to work in that way and why it's important in some ways to make this project personal.
I love naming. Colour naming is one of my favourite parts of the process –  you get to inject a colour that has been seen before with its own personality and its own story. I think the more personal you can make something, the more special it becomes. I really wanted this collection to feel as authentic as possible and as personal as possible, which I think also lends itself to a certain classicism and a certain timelessness, again, when it's about something as opposed to everything.

What are your favourite colours in the collection?
When seeing them as single-colour cards, I definitely can find favourites but then when we were on set, and the decorators were doing up the house, seeing certain colours in the large spaces with sunlight just changed everything. I personally love “Cardamom” and “Sardine”, and I think they're really easy to live in. But then when you see “Pea Flower Tea” with “Lobster”, colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel, they complement each other but you get an electric shock when they're placed together.  That's always fun to see. 

Can you pinpoint where your fascination with colour came from?
I think it just came naturally to me. I never really saw myself as a colourist or anything like that but I always knew that I had an obsession. When I started taking art classes in primary school, I hated charcoal, I hated pencil, I hated anything that was too perfect. I didn't need to represent something, I just needed to express it and I only felt satisfied when I was able to use colour in that way.

I think also growing up in the South, and being so restricted with self-expression, the only way that I could really tell the world who I was, was through colour. That's always been an easy way to communicate to me and that's what I love so much about it, and why I continue to try to make it a hallmark of my design process.

Do you have a particular item of clothing from your childhood that is particularly important to you?
There was this shirt that was a similar colour to “Lobster” but a little more green. I bought it on sale at a mall when I was in middle school and I wore it to our winter formal. It was a really intense blue. At the time that felt like a safe colour for me to wear, but also something really special and different. So I liked that it sort of sat in multiple spaces.

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