You can take Martine Rose out of London, but you can’t take London out of Martine Rose

You can take Martine Rose out of London, but you can’t take London out of Martine Rose

by Ollie Cox
4 min

It’s difficult to predict which fashion capital Martine Rose will rock up in, but when she does, you can be certain it’ll cook up the familiar fashion storm, the type that ends in lasting applause from a slew of hungry showgoers including a sunglasses-donning Kaytranda. For Spring/Summer 2025, the London-based designer brought a bit of home to Milan and its mega-warm weather, looking to the lesser documented spaces that continue to inspire her. 

Up the archive

Inside the show setting, Martine Rose laid her inspirations bare, as references, lookbooks, and general stuff she finds cool were printed and scattered around the edges of the catwalk. The posters bore a striking resemblance to the rave flyers which remain a beacon of inspiration for the designer, who has often referenced time on the dance floor and the sonic subcultures surrounding it in her work. Rave flyers, in particular, offer a visceral, visual property that Rose embroidered onto jackets in Fall/Winter 2014 and recently patched onto retro furniture in her Clark’s pop-up space in Selfridges. 

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The archival references didn’t stop there, with an opening look seeing a boxy grey tailored jacket tucked into blue leather trousers, which partially concealed a snakeskin angular boot. Rose twisted her tailoring into a mid-layer by tucking jackets into waistbands in a nod to earlier runway collections. Pencil skirts were not reserved for Rose’s female protagonists and joined boxy track tops in a coming together of two signature style tropes. Why? Because “It’s not about gender, it’s about clothes. Enjoying clothes whatever they are, whoever you are. It’s about fun and looseness,” Rose revealed after the show. 

Two fingers to tradition

For Spring/Summer 2025, models wore prosthetic noses and floor-scraping wigs in a friendly two fingers to Milan’s traditional beauty. Appearing calm amongst the post-show chaos, Rose described where she found inspiration for the collection. “This time, when I was thinking about what I wanted to explore, Milan being the home of polish and beautiful products, I was thinking about how I can work against that and where I genuinely find beauty. It’s often in the frayed edges. It’s in the cracks around the edges, and it’s maybe in the places where beauty isn’t usually found. I really like to raise questions around what I propose for men and for women,” she revealed. 

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Models zig-zagged around the catwalk with speed and confidence, an aura that reflected Rose’s design skill, where the “ugly” aspects of the everyday are transformed. When asked why she wanted to dress models like this, Rose shared her desire to explore the lesser-known sides of life. “I wanted to enjoy another area. I wanted to create these characters that are not beautiful, but they’re beautiful. There’s a sexiness, there’s a darkness, a humour – all of the stuff that I find really inspiring,” she shared. 

Large up the “Local Hero”

Martine Rose might be showing in Milan, but she hasn’t forgotten her roots. The “Local Hero” moniker that has appeared throughout Martine’s work was all over this collection, where 17 familiar faces, intrinsic to the storytelling around the brand, walked alongside street cast models, further adding to Rose’s affront to Milan’s polish. One of these local heroes wore an archival crochet knit bag around his neck just to make sure no one nicked it, and to be fair given yesterday’s reception, we don’t blame him. 

The exploration of alternative beauty was present in the swagger and confidence that oozed from models as they power marched between plastic seating. This is what Rose does best—elevating everyday garments with sexy subversions. Take her women’s camisoles, for example, which were crafted from motorcycle knee pads or leather chaps with easy-access zippers in the crotch.

Spring/Summer 2025 saw a continuation of the Martine Rose x Clark’s “Coming Up Roses” collection, which saw beefed-up adaptations of the British shoemaker’s Desert Boot, Desert London and Dress silhouettes. The Nike Air Max Plus Tiempo, a tongue-out take on the TN was also spotted on foot. Is it an official collaboration? You’ll have to wait and see. 

If yesterday’s presentation proved one thing, it’s that you can take Martine Rose out of London, but you can’t take London out of Martine Rose. In an authentic pursuit of where she finds beauty, Martine uplifted the everyday to serve up a sexy Milanese treat. 

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