A Rose is a Rose is Not a Rose

The Storied Origins of Rowen Rose, Fashion’s Most Buzzed-About Brand Since Alexander McQueen

By Karen Fragala Smith

Emma Rowen Rose would like to tell you a story. A statuesque woman in a vinyl gown and white lacy thigh-high stockings is on the prowl. She works as a chambermaid for an eccentric family, and she is trying to solve a murder using the only tools at her disposal: her powers of seduction and capacity for deduction. Flash forward a season, and the heroine is a free-spirited Andalusian woman trapped by the dictates of her tyrannical mother. She prances about the house in a high-waisted saffron gown or a halter-topped black pantsuit with lace gloves, her garb providing a temporary respite from her isolation. Most recently, for Fall/Winter 2019, the Rowen Rose heroine is a denizen of the night, known to seek her fortunes in casinos and speakeasies. We aren’t sure whether this beauty—in her embellished, Easter-egg hued dresses and coats—is a friend or foe, but that’s ok, because she’s not sure either.

It’s easy to understand why Emma Raphaëlle Rotenberg, who is professionally known as Emma Rowen Rose, founder of an eponymous fashion line, is the most buzzed-about new designer to emerge since 1993 when Alexander McQueen stormed through London. Like McQueen, Rose is a visual artist whose chosen medium is clothing. And while her designs are impeccably made and inherently wearable, Rose is not merely rolling out functional apparel; she is telling stories with immeasurable grace and wit…

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