“I don’t believe in fashion, I believe in style.”
“I don’t believe in fashion, I believe in style.”
And who could possibly know more about that subject than a woman whose life exemplifies it.
Her career has run the gamut from big-band singer, Hollywood starlet, denizen of Rome’s la dolce vita in the company of princes and magnates, films for Fellini, Chanel’s favored mannequin, successful New York model, and finally, owner of an innovative Madison Avenue barbershop boutique that set that staid street of shops on its collective ear and transformed the concept of boutiques forever.
And it’s just that zest for both life and the experiences it offers that gives JACKIE ROGERS her extraordinarily sophisticated point of view, a view which she transforms into couture designs for some of the worlds most fashionable and demanding women. Rogers has great personal style and even more to the point, a unique ability to transfer that style to her clients. It’s a feat that has made her the favored couturier for some of the greatest names in New York and international society, as well as the world of film and theater.
She was discovered and pressed into runway action by the most renowned couturiers of Rome, including Simonetta and Fabiani. Her madcap lifestyle inspired Fellini to write a part for her into his film “8 ½” and gave her the line of the film” “You’re finished, you’ve got nothing left to say.”
A shopping excursion to Paris changed all that and the direction of her life, forever. JACKIE ROGERS bought her first Chanel suit (“around $600”) and as she stood for the first fitting found herself thinking, “It would be nice to work here.” Upon hearing that Chanel needed models she quickly lined up an interview, “Chanel liked me, hired me on the spot and paid me top dollar.” Rogers left the prince and la dolce vita behind to pursue her dream. Her contract with Chanel was for one year.
At the end of the period, Chanel insisted that she remain. For JACKIE ROGERS, one thing was important: that she work with “Mademoiselle” on the collection. Surprisingly, Chanel agreed and Rogers remained at the House of Chanel, absorbing the style and techniques of her mentor. “It was the greatest experience of my life. I never realized what an effect she had on me.” The effect was to prove lasting.
But Jackie was eager to get home to begin her own career. Against Chanel’s protestations, she returned to New York and her modeling and television work while she investigated the fashion possibilities. “One day I was getting my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon,” she says, “when my hairdresser informed me he was cutting the hair of 250 guys a week at night! Great! I suggested, we get together and work out of my apartment. “He’d cut hair, I’d sell Ken Scott’sincredible men’s shirts”…they were all the rage there in the Sixties.
It was the beginning of a revolutionary concept in merchandising, a barbershop boutique which mushroomed into a Madison Avenue shop proudly displaying the banner, “Jackie Rogers for Men”. The first of-its-kind, it created a whirlwind of publicity and attracted some of the most stellar names of the day: Peter O’Toole, Winthrop Rockefeller, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas and Woody Allen. Quickly expanding on her brilliant and innovative idea, Jackie began designing fashionable men’s clothes. It became the meeting place of the rich and famous from both coasts and soon the women followed.
Lee Radziwell discovered Jackie and soon brought her sister, Jackie Onassis. Jackie’s following today includes some of the most recognized women in entertainment, politics and finance. Jackie’s cliental includes; Julianne Moore, Condaleeza Rice, Roberta Flack, Nicole Kidman, Gwyenth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, Courtney Love and more.
“I’m the only designer today who ever worked with the great Coco Chanel,” says Rogers. “From her I learned that fashion doesn’t start with design. Everything comes from fabrication.” Working just as Chanel did, with the fabric, (“Chanel never sketched; I don’t either.”),JACKIE ROGERS molds and contours the fabric until a shape emerges. “It’s like sculpting,” she explains.
“Restricting a piece to its design holds back on what should and could, be developed. I go the way the fabric goes. That involves draping the cloth on a mannequin to get line and feeling. From that point the design develops, sometimes spinning off into a dozen different versions. My clothes are always simple. I take away, rather than add, more and more women are finding they don’t want their clothes wearing them. My clothes are season-less, I can not be defined by the season.” says Jackie Rogers. Rogers loves fabrics with texture, such as charmeuse, crepe, and chiffon. JACKIE ROGERS’ customers are addicted to the complicated simplicity of her design; designs that are a complete couture, refined, soft-spoken, elegant, enigmatic, with the dash and daring of a designer who knows her craft and has no fear of standing on the cutting edge of style.