nyfw: rag & bone
(images via wwd)
i’ll be honest once again, though it usually doesn’t get me anywhere: i kind of run hot & cold on rag & bone. to be sure, i’ve covered designers david neville and marcus wainwright’s work at new york fashion week for multiple seasons now (see s/s 2011, pre-fall 2011, f/w 2011, s/s 2012), but that’s just so the bigger kids on the playground don’t tease me. ha. no, it’s because i see glimmers (or occasionally quite a bit more than that) of intriguing art in their work, but as they rise higher in prominence and cool, i quite frankly could not tell you whether they’d actually be deserving of such. so, once again, i’m going to kind of cop out and simply let the rest of the critics speak for me on the subject. because i’ve been looking at these bloody images of their f/w 2012 collection for a while, and i still don’t know.
and so it begins. “The British-born designers started with English mainstays,” the washington post reports, “including tweeds, tails and jackets fit for military officers. But a recent trip to India also got them thinking about former British colonies and the traditional dress in those mostly Asian places, they explained backstage before the show. ‘We looked at the British Empire and the influence of British culture there,’ Neville said. Then they saw a reciprocal relationship and how those faraway lands have moved into European fashion, too, he said. On the runway that meant folded skirts — a particularly nice one done in walnut-colored leather — that was paired with a polo-neck T-shirt and a high-neck, below-the-hip raj jacket, and draped, low-slung dhoti pants with a striped wool biker tailcoat.”
and vogue, as ever taking forever to get to the point said that “(o)ne thing Rag & Bone gets right is their knowledge of the way young women are artfully layering clothes this winter—the desire to amass a repertoire of jackets, furry things, and decoratively patterned pieces to switch around in multiple glamorous combinations. Their central idea, as they explained in preview, was a mix of English tailoring and Indian textile influences. It worked, to a degree, but something in the downbeat color palette—bronze, gray, black, brown, and burgundy—and the reiteration of tunics and wrapped or pleated skirts, all worn over pants, became repetitive on the extra-long runway. That’s not to say there aren’t great items to pull out—fur vests, a black leather coat, tapestry-patterened jackets and tops. But, compared to their spring show, which wetted the fashion appetite with many varied looks based around sportswear, with flashes of neon, this collection fell short of stimulating instant desire.”
meanwhile, wwd wrote that “(t)here were the floral tapestries from the library cut into collared jackets and jodhpurs, and striped blankets and riding gear nicked from the stables that were transformed into a lust-worthy trenchcoat with sharp leather shoulders. Rich metallic fabrics were made into sharp pantsuits, or threaded into a knockout ikat sweater dress, then belted — as almost everything was — and paired with their covetable ankle boots or heeled loafers. ‘The real challenge was how many different elements we had,’ noted Neville, ‘and combining them all in a way that looked great but also made sense for the brand.’ Referring, of course, to the pile-it-on mentality that’s become almost as much a Rag & Bone signature as the precise and detailed tailoring on which the duo built their label. The layering, it must be noted, has evolved into a controlled, ubersophisticated process, and worked especially well, thanks to the multitude of draping and wrapping that softened the harder edges.”
"This particular winter has been easy," notes style, “but the R & B gal will be ready for whatever next December throws her way, because this collection, like all of their Fall outings, was a study in layers: a tile-motif jacket over paisley pajama pants, or a sweater and jacket on top of a draped skirt and slim leggings, with another blazer thrown on for good measure. They weren’t shy about mixing herringbone with arrow prints with polka dots with stripes. Outerwear was a strength. Especially a red, army green, tan, and black wool blanket stripe coat and a floral tapestry jacket with fur details (OK, that one put you in mind of the subcontinent). They both added needed jolts of color to a lineup that was predominantly black and white and shades of gray. This collection lacked some of the visual punch of Spring. But there’s no arguing with its streetwise vibe, just the way their girls like it.”
and the la times enthused “(t)heir fall collection was English countryside-meets-the-Raj, with layers upon layers of rich-looking pieces with must-touch textures, plus all the must-have accessories (those herringbone platform riding boots! That sculptural leather collar piece!) that keep fans coming back to the brand. There were striped blanket coats worn over schoolboy blazers and jodhpurs fastened with trooper belts; shearling vests over tweed wrap skirts and chunky legwarmers, herringbone sweater dresses shot through with copper Lurex thread, and genius-looking black crochet lace ‘doti’ pants and sweaters to layer even more.” so opt’s analysis goes something like this: if you’re one of the r&b crew, you’re likely to find a million pieces in a single exit to fall all over, once again. and if not, you’re probably going to be confused about all the layering and variegated styles coming together in a single outfit. so i guess i know where i stand. i must just not be that cool (see additional images at t magazine).
(watch the collection video here)