“I believe in going forward not backwards,” Couture designer Jackie Rogers told us. Style, not fashion, is her credo. “My clothing is timeless and seasonless,” she said at a showcase for her 2020 collection at Dena Weiner’s house (to benefit the Southampton Animal Shelter). “You can wear it 12 months a year. They’re very simple and very clean clothing.”
Rogers transitioned from a successful modeling career that encompassed a cameo in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, to muse and mentee at Coco Chanel’s storied atelier, making Rogers the only working designer today who studied with Chanel herself. She was also a big-band singer, Hollywood starlet, New York model and the creator of a menswear boutique/barber shop that drew the likes of Peter O’Toole, Winthrop Rockefeller, Jack Nicholson, Michael Douglas and Woody Allen.
Rogers has dressed Jackie Onassis, Lee Radziwell, Julianne Moore, Condaleeza Rice, Roberta Flack, Nicole Kidman, Gwyenth Paltrow, Salma Hayek, and Courtney Love.
She’s also created couture for Dena Weiner, who opened her Gin Lane home Friday night, to showcase Jackie’s 2020 Collection for All Seasons, to help SASF. That night, Rogers added Shelter supporter Jean Shafiroff to the list of women she has well-dressed. Jean had her eye on a lavender sequined cocktail dress, but once Jackie had her try on a bright, brocaded coat dress, it followed the philanthropist home.
Southampton Animal Shelter’s adoptions coordinator, Kate McEntee brought a few dogs hoping to follow someone home as well.
Jackie may not look back, but she takes the lessons she learned with her. “When I worked for Chanel, she always made a high armhole,” Rogers told us. “I still revert to that in my cuts for men and women. It’s closer to your body. You feel great in it and it’s sexy. And my clothes are cut on the bias. No one does that any more. I don’t have a dart or a seam that you have to use to make the clothes work. They’re designed that way. They’re very simple and very clean clothing.”
Dena Weiner sported a neutral colored, collarless linen blouse with an asymmetrical ruffle, paired with a black shiny, faux leather, cigarette pant. It was romantic yet tailored, timeless with an edge. “I love Jackie’s clothes,” Weiner told us. She met the designer ten years ago when daughter Ruth needed a special bridesmaid dress for sister Natalia’s wedding. Later, Dena had her own special needs for a wedding invitation. “I had a broken leg and a cast on my foot,” Dena recounted. “I couldn’t just go buy an outfit with a cast up to my knee. So I thought of Jackie. She made me this fabulous white organza top and these black lace pants. Then, the wedding was postponed. I had my cast removed. So, she had to adjust the black lace pants again. But, she can sew anything. She was Chanel’s muse. She drapes everything on you. And she’s the only one to cut all her clothes on the bias. That’s why they hang the way they do and have the movement they have. Her designs don’t come from a pattern but from fitting them on you.” Looking at Jean Shafiroff, wearing Roger’s coatdress, Dena added. “Of course, many people can buy her things without having them custom made….like that lovely woman who just put that on!”
As we walked out, Barbara McEntee pointed to a detail that has made Weiner’s Gin Lane home as iconic as Rogers’ designs: the Windmill that towers over the hedges. It, too, has a timeless beauty that transcends the fashion of the moment, and is always in style.