There have been huge changes to the NYFW lineup this season and while shows at the new venues have gone surprisingly well, an increasing number of designers have opted for off-site locations in an effort to distinguish themselves from the pack and give their shows a more customized feeling. We saw it with Givenchy, Alexander Wang, and several others. Rag & Bone’s designers, David Neville and Marcus Wainright, may have pulled off the ultimate coup, though, when they managed to get Conde Nast’s Queen Of All Things Fashion, Anna Wintour, to go all the way out to Brooklyn for their late evening show. Now that they’ve proven it can be done,it will be interesting to see if others follow suit. Brooklyn has attempted its own fashion week in previous years, but it has never met with anywhere near the success of NYFW. This may change things.
Another change this season is that Ms. Wintour herself, rather than arriving early and taking her seat, hiding behind those famous sunglasses, has been venturing backstage more often without an assistant or intern on her heels. She was chatting with Neville and Wainright for several minutes before the show. While we’ve no idea what any of them were saying, the designers were smiling and laughing throughout the conversation. Either Ms. Wintour has a fall-back career in comedy or, more likely, the designers know better than to do anything that might upset the woman who could crush their careers in a heartbeat.
What the duo sent down the runway was delightfully different from much of what we’ve seen this season, opting for more of a 90s throwback rather than the 6os that have been the rage on other catwalks. We saw a lot of knits and tube dresses, plenty of leather (especially as highlight pieces), sufficient amounts of mesh, military jackets (which Wainright says he’s been wanting to use since they started), and big, bulky sports shoes that made everyone look like a subway commuter rushing to get to their office.
The pair stayed on-trend with plenty of sleeveless looks and racer back dresses. Hems tended to run long, often calf-length, more than short. There were a couple of dresses with large, elongated cutouts, which definitely cause one to be careful about their choice of underwear, but for the most part, the collection is rather conservative. Seasonally, the clothes play more toward the early part of spring when early mornings and late evenings tend to be a bit on the cool side.
Diversity on their runway wasn’t as strong as I would have like to have seen, with less than a third of their models being non-caucasian. We’ll give them a four out of ten with hopes that they’ll do better next season.
After seeing the collection, one can understand why the designers chose Brooklyn as their show location. Their common-sense approach to fashion plays well in the commuter-driven, fashion-forward borough.For that matter, it’s been playing rather well all across the country, hence the label’s success. This is the why the label has grown so dramatically and is likely to take over a number of retail spots in the near future. Be watching.