by NICK REMSEN
Tonight marked a major step in the evolution of Rag & Bone. It was the first runway show in which designer, and now sole CEO, Marcus Wainwright took a bow alone. David Neville, with whom Wainwright cofounded the label some 14 years ago, stepped down from his position in the company earlier this year. The evening also included Rag & Bone’s fragrance debut, landing in mid-October, of eight scents.
Similar to last season, Rag & Bone’s Spring men’s and women’s collections were shown in tandem. This time, they came forth in a brooding technical production that featured branched and pixelated projections and a score anchored by a Thom Yorke track. At first, the set felt somewhat incongruous with the clothing, at least on the men’s side—save for a heavy black palette, the lineup was relatively straightforward, though perhaps marginally more streamlined and skate-centric than the de facto Rag & Bone beat. But Wainwright said something to make the observer think: “It’s about trying to twist the slightly clichéd American clothing that everyone’s gotten maybe a little sick of . . . the preppy, the rowing style . . . I wanted to see how we could twist that idea.”
What manifested was a workwear-streetwear hybrid, rife with trim urban basics like terry sweatsuits and lo-fi black baseball caps with subtle diamond logos, which Rag & Bone uses discreetly. Wainwright said that it all spoke to the tenets of the brand—tailoring, utilitarian wear, technical clothes, military clothes—which it did, and did very well at times, but in other moments, one was left to wonder: what is it, exactly, that warrants my couple hundred of dollars for a pair of slouchy chinos or a crewneck sweatshirt? What’s the extra incentive to pick this, in a crowded contemporary market? Some of the men’s collection needed more of a grab, more of a convincing reason to get behind it.