Not everyone would take a leap of faith and quit school to start their dream job, but Meryll Rogge did just that. The Belgian designer, who studied at the prestigious Antwerp Royal Academy of Fashion, left school when she got hired at Marc Jacobs in 2008. Rogge, who credits landing that job with having a good foundation in fashion, says a personal highlight was meeting Jacobs for the first time in August that year.
“The team was very small, so we did absolutely everything from the early research, fabric development, trim buying, embroidery development, design and fittings, to the show fittings. The way garments are made is touching perfection,” says the 35-year-old.
After seven years with the American label, she landed at another major label, Dries Van Noten, where she learnt to think of a brand as a whole. “We were involved in everything concerning garments, as well as show ideas, music, hair and makeup, and casting. I also learnt to think about the comfort of a woman, what will she like to wear, how will she wear it,” shares Rogge. Another career highlight was being part of Dries Van Noten’s 100th show, and having worked a few weeks on the Lacroix x Dries SS ’20 show.
Rogge, who is an admirer of couture legends like Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Madame Gres, as well as contemporary designers such as Rei Kawakubo, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, went on to launch her eponymous label in 2020. And her life experiences and interactions have definitely influenced how she envisions the Meryll Rogge customer.
“Our woman (or man) is someone who has a strong personality, and is not afraid to stand out, even if she is an introvert. She goes her own way and doesn’t follow trends,” she says. Essentially, the clothes have to be comfortable, while making the wearer feel strong and beautiful.
Examine her designs and you will observe that she loves playing with proportions, while embracing traditional feminine and masculine shapes. “We would like to create a new meeting point for opposites, for example for evening and daywear, but always in a casual and easy-going way,” she explains.
For the SS ’21 collection, Rogge focused on the power of escapism. It’s often manifested as an urge for an “elsewhere”, a fantasized vision of an exotic land, and its promises of beauty and happiness, but Rogge questions: What is escapism in 2021?
“Between distorted memories and pure fiction, it pays homage to the French artist Laure Prouvost and her peculiar geographies,” she shares. The collection was also inspired by the works of contemporary Belgian painter Harold Ancart, and Scottish artist Peter Doig (who collaborated with Kim Jones for Dior Homme’s FW ’21 collection).
Some of her favourite pieces are the big black nylon raincoat, and the patent linen ruffled yoke shirt. “I actually ordered them for myself,” she shares. “As a designer, I wish to continue making beautiful collections that touch people, and help them be their own individual selves; to design garments that become part of someone’s life journey,” she says.
And what of Rogge’s plans in 2021 and beyond? “We hope to add accessories to complete our look. We already have amazing shoe, bag and jewellery designers that we could work with – we only need to grow a bit financially!”
Merryl Rogge is available at Net-a-Porter.com.
Keep scrolling to check out our top picks from Merryl Rogge’s collection.