Martine Rose's digital show highlights what makes everyday life so special
Presenting her SS21 collection, the designer captures lockdown life for the likes of Drake and Elsa Majimbo in LA, Tokyo, Ramallah and more.
L: Mark in Wallhausen; R: Urara in Chiba. Courtesy of Martine Rose
Martine Rose has always had a knack for elevating and celebrating the everyday with humour and panache. Look back on any given show, and you often get the sense that you’ve seen the characters that storm her runways before — that they’re archetypes, albeit niche ones, that you’ve clocked walking through London’s streets. It’s what makes her approach to fashion so refreshing; it’s applicable, relatable, a far cry from the hackneyed trope that fashion has to always be an expression of escapist fantasy.
She might be a realist, but that certainly doesn’t mean say that Martine is at all stern. In fact, her presentations -- the most memorable of which include trips to a climbing centre, Seven Sisters’ Latin Village and a cul-de-sac in Kentish Town -- are among the most poignant and heartfelt out there, each a love letter to London, the city she’s called home her whole life.
With things as they are, though, celebrating a particular city’s spirit in such an immersive, engaging way is a little tricky — not to mention odd, given that, no matter where in the world we are, our everyday realities look more similar than they ever did before. Seemingly overnight, the places where we ate, slept, worked and conversed all caved into one. Each of our homes becoming “a whole city in four walls”, Philip Maughan writes in the notes accompanying ‘What We Do All Day’, a digital platform launched today by Martine, documenting life as it looks for many of us right now.
Rather than focus on the similarities, though, the virtual experience — which comprises 24 short films documenting the lockdown lives of contributors from Paris to Tokyo, Ramallah and beyond — peeks behind typically-closed doors, exploring the intrigue found in just how distinct our routines are when life can feel so same-y. Much in the style of Georges Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual, visitors to one of the site’s three screenings (if you’re quick, you can catch the last one at 8pm GMT tonight!) start in the atrium of a simulated housing block, created by Martine Rose and experience design pros International Magic, before hopping from door to door.
Apart from the fact that each inhabitant of the building’s 24 world-spanning apartments is wearing head-to-toe Martine Rose SS21 (catch up on the collection here), their lives may at times look a lot like yours — Steven in LA’s wine on the sofa routine, for example, makes for especially uncanny watching — and at others, they appear totally alien. There are faces in there you’ll recognise, like Mark Bryan in Wallhausen, Germany in a mock-croc skirt and silk stocking football socks; 19-year-old Elsa Majimbo with her inimitable cackle in floral jeans, reclining on her couch in Nairobi; and Drake in his Toronto home studio, in a football top and a pair of trackies.
Regardless of who the people are, though, the take-home message here is one of celebration and validation, a sense that, though it may feel like our lives have been placed on hold, the things we’ve chosen to do to fill the time — whether DIY haircuts like Carla and Leonel in Mexico City, or dancing around your room like Justin in London and Kahlil in Algiers — are no less deserving (and are perhaps even more deserving) of interest and attention than what we might have been doing outside.
Even if our current lives don’t quite match up with what we hoped we’d be doing in 2021, that makes them no less special. And — particularly if you’re living in Martine’s worldwide fantasy apartment building — the clothes we choose to move through these times in can be just as special, too.
All images courtesy of Martine Rose
Creative Direction Martine Rose
Creative Direction & Production International Magic
Styling & Art Direction Tamara Rothstein