When he was a kid growing up in England, Marcus Wainwright used towatch the Paris-Dakar Rally, the annual off-road auto race between Parisand Dakar, Senegal, in which “These crazy guys are flying through thedunes on massive trucks and race cars,” he said during a preview the daybefore his show. Pinned on an inspiration board nearby was a photo of adie-hard motocrosser in head-to-toe leather standing in the sand nextto a Bedouin. The contrast between the two men became the starting pointof the collection, in which Wainwright and design partner David Nevillesavvily synthesized those two disparate worlds into a potent cocktailfor the contemporary market.

Neville and Wainwright know how to pack a lot of look into asingle outfit, so the models took their exits in strategically styledlayers: Robust leather biker gear was countered with light, breezy silksand cottons meant to combat the desert heat. (Or was it the swelteringtemps of the show venue? Might air-conditioning be put in the budgetnext year?) The juxtaposition was anchored in the traditional Englishtailoring/military motif that is the backbone of the Rag & Boneaesthetic. A black shirtdress was layered over a ticking-stripe bra topand black leather oversize shorts, the whole ensemble topped off by anengineer-stripe jacket. Some of the striped pieces sported lace trim,adding a nice dose of femininity to the very sporty collection.Wainwright said they had gone to town on the proportions, with one ofthe strongest statements emerging in the oversize shorts, cribbed from“a British army-North Africa thing,” as he put it. There was an emphasison white in the quilted shirtdresses and skirts and gauzy tops, butmajor color — electric green leather moto jackets, and cobalt bluetailored pieces — cycled through as well. Between the cleverlycalculated, piled-on styling (replete with the pair’s burgeoning Pilothandbag series) Neville and Wainwright had all their bases covered — andwell-merchandised.

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