Rag & Bone is doubling its retail presence in Greenwich Village in a move that affirms its commitment to men’s wear, even as women’s has become its growth engine.
The contemporary label opened its first store, a dual-gender boutique, at 104 Christopher Street three months ago. Last weekend, the store was converted to women’s only, and a twin space for men opened two doors down. An unaffiliated English tailor’s shop separates the two locations, but a common antique frontage creates the impression of continuity.
“Our first one opened Labor Day and it’s done tremendously well,” said David Neville, who coowns and codesigns Rag & Bone with Marcus Wainwright. “We’re obviously extremely aware of everything going on [in the economy.] We’re lucky to be small enough to be able to keep expanding in this way and staying on target.”
He cited the strength of the last four collections for the performance of the store and of the company.
“The clothes have been our most recognizably Rag & Bone. For women we do shrunken blazers, double-breasted blazers, leggings. There’s a whole look — a Rag & Bone aesthetic — which is the reason for the success,” he said.
Rag & Bone began in men’s wear, marrying English tailoring with classic American workwear. Now the business is 70 percent women’s, but the designers didn’t want men to be underserved by the dual-gender store, where inventory skewed to 60 percent women’s. So they jumped on the vacant space, which shared many of the same characteristics as the existing store, including its size of 1,600 square feet.
“We wanted a better opportunity to showcase our men’s because we’re really proud of it. And we thought if we had two, we could accentuate the masculine and feminine. The original store is a little more pretty, more delicate,” said Neville. That store has an ornate tin ceiling, chandelier and wooden floors, while the new men’s unit has exposed beams, slate floors and a spiral staircase with a brass banister. Both have black lacquered frontage, exposed brick walls, pipes and iron joists.
“The most important thing is to showcase our men’s and women’s in their own environments that are more tailored to guys and to ladies. That’s what we do with the clothes, too. A lot of the women’s wear is inspired by men’s wear, but tailored to the women’s form,” Neville said.
Rag & Bone was the first fashion outpost to land on Christopher Street, among boutiques catering to a gay clientele. It has enjoyed plenty of tourist traffic and spillover from the designer brands clustered on Bleecker Street, Neville said.
“We’re lucky to have stumbled on these spaces because they’re real gems,” he said, describing them as warm, authentic, historic and aspirational.
Next year the stores will carry shoes, which Rag & Bone launched for spring. They already carry boots designed in collaboration with Grenson Shoes of Northamptonshire, England. Rag & Bone’s reputation rests partly on its support of long-standing American factories and English craftsmen.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast