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On Wednesday night, actor Michael Pitt, known mostly for serious dramas like Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers” and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” was trying out something of a comedy routine.
He was at the Dia Art Foundation’s Chelsea space in New York, where Rag & Bone was showing its spring men’s collection as a presentation and photo exhibit.
Pitt had recently posed in Coney Island, N.Y., for the label’s fall campaign.
“Basically, I met David and Marcus at a bar,” the actor said referring to designers Neville and Wainwright. “They locked me in a bathroom and they wouldn’t let me get out. At first, it was funny. And they said, ‘Listen, we’re not going to let you out of this bathroom unless you sign on to do our campaign. And I was like, ‘Seriously, guys, this is not funny.’”
The actor was just getting started with his bit.
“I was there for an hour and a half. Finally, I said, ‘Sure, I’ll f–king do it,’” he said. “I’m afraid of them kind of. He’s very tall,” he said pointing to whippet-thin Wainwright.
In truth, Pitt first worked with the designers last year for the fall ad campaign, when he was paired with French actress Léa Seydoux. His counterpart this time is Winona Ryder.
For spring, Wainwright and Neville eschewed a runway show for a gallery installation featuring a selection from the collection hanging on the walls and a photo exhibit of a diverse cast of characters wearing their designs. They include everyone from Jerry Seinfeld and Carmelo Anthony to Gerald DeCock, a hairstylist and lifelong Chelsea Hotel bon vivant. Seinfeld, in particular, appears unshaven and gruff, more like Bizarro Jerry, really. Wainwright said that was the comic’s own doing.
“We didn’t tell him what to do. He didn’t have a job. He just needed to turn up and do what he wanted,” the designer said.
Though Seinfeld and Anthony didn’t show up at the gallery, some of the more insider-y names in the photographs did — models Glenna Neece, Camille Rowe and Ethan Green; restaurateur Lincoln Pilcher; Glen Luchford, who shot the fall campaign, and Lucy Chadwick, director of the gallery Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Pitt came with young French actress Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, his costar in “I Origins.”
Though it was hot inside the wide-open gallery, even more so than outside, the waitstaff passed out the kind of food usually reserved for tailgate parties, like baby-back ribs garnished with tiny American flags.
“Yeah, f–k it,” Wainwright said of the ribs. “You only live once.”