NEW YORK — Rag & Bone is breaking the rules again.
On Wednesday night, the New York-based brand presented its spring men’s collection in an unconventional manner, using a “photo project” shot by Andreas Laszlo Konrath in a Dia: Chelsea gallery on the west side of Manhattan.
The looks were photographed on 26 “friends of the brand,” a mix of famous and regular people that included comedian Jerry Seinfeld, basketball star Carmelo Anthony and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, as well as entrepreneurs, photographers, restaurateurs and music producers. The shots also include wives of both managing partners of Rag & Bone wearing men’s clothes.
“It’s a pretty eclectic group,” said Marcus Wainwright, cofounder and designer. “We don’t care if they’re recognizable. The point was to present a cross-section of people who we think are awesome or cool. You don’t have to be a celebrity to matter.”
Rag & Bone filled the walls of the space at the event with 44 blowups of the photos and supplemented it by tacking pieces from the collection up on the walls on hangers. “That referenced our first-ever look book” that was shot in that way, Wainwright said.
He noted that a stylist worked with the subjects to choose the looks for each photo, but several decided to tweak the outfits to better represent their own personal taste. “And that’s how it ended up,” Wainwright said. “These are people who see clothes in a particular way.”
David Neville, the other managing partner, said showing the collection in this way is “fresh, and a good representation of the brand.
“The concept is rooted in the idea of reality. These are real people and this is the way they dress in their day-to-day lives.”
Both men say the idea of holding a runway show during fashion week no longer appeals to them. “It’s just not interesting,” Wainwright said. “It just becomes a blur of men’s brands. We love that format, too, but we don’t want to do just plain runway shows anymore. By forgoing a runway show, we can focus on amazing pieces.”
Neville agreed. “With men’s runway shows, you can get distracted by showing fashion just for the sake of it. Our message for our men’s wear is real people in real clothes. We use beautiful fabrics and silhouettes, but they’re not screaming at you. And this concept allows us to do that.”
They also chose this week — one day after Michael Kors opened the season in New York by showing his collection in his showroom — because “people are just back from Europe,” Neville said, and the New York trade shows open next weekend. “So it’s in between. There’s never really been a defined New York men’s fashion week so this is our pre-men’s market.”
For the spring collection, Wainwright said the pieces are “languid. There’s an ease and a drapiness. We used a lot of cotton this season and while there isn’t a specific theme, we’re referencing nonchalance in a Jackson Pollack-I-don’t-give-a-f--k way. There’s nothing rigid.”
Even though most of the collection was fluid and looked “lived in,” there was nevertheless still a nod to the company’s English workwear roots in pieces such as a black cotton sateen pant with a railroad stitch, and Japanese selvage pin-striped suit separates in indigo or cream. Elongated silhouettes were evident in oversize cardigans and a plaid shirt, and there were also performance pieces such as a seam-sealed nylon jacket with a touch of linen in it. Cut-off sweatshirts, cropped cotton pants and a moleskin coat were also offered, and the brand reissued one of its original pieces, a Fifties-inspired James Dean shirt that could double as a pajama top with its white piping. But perhaps the pièce de résistance was a racing boat sailcloth coat laced with fiberglass. “It’s wicked,” Wainwright said.
“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