NYFW: A Yearning for Preservation at Rag & Bone

After 15 years, one of the original founders of Rag & Bone no longer identifies with the runway.

Relevance, culture, society, call it what you like, has dulled the energy of the fashion show for Marcus Wainwright. He’s pausing and going back to the basics as he takes in the current state of affairs in fashion and the world. Add to that his new singular voice, since the exit of co-founder David Neville, and there must be a lot of processing taking place. Because Rag & Bone holds the line between what is aspirational and relatable, Wainwright said,

“…for us, it felt tone-deaf to do a show.”

Instead, the looks of Rag & Bone Fall 2017 were presented in a photo project, shot on film by Glen Luchford and Frank LeBon. It was in-the-moment, instinctual creation, devoid of the luxury of multiple retakes or copious digital options. One of the cameras was a vintage, large-format polaroid, using prized film that is no longer produced. The camera is enormous, as it prints out a 20″ x 24″ instant photo.

Wainwright grew up with a father who captured his entire childhood with photos, and chronicled it in photo albums. It bothers Wainwright that currently his kids can’t behold the recording of their lives, because their family photos are stuck in the phone, or in the cloud. Tools and a medium rooted in the sentimentality of permanence and preservation, brought to life the idea of a photo exhibition to celebrate Rag & Bone’s 15 years. The space in Chelsea was wrapped in the brand’s messaging; inside it was a slick, industrial space with polished concrete floors. The nearly 75 portraits of a legacy of Rag & Bone supporters, heroes, and inspirations, hung among years of photos of Rag & Bone cool cats. Talents like Mikhail Barishnikof, Keri Russell, Carmelo Anthony, and Walton Ford chose what they wanted to wear (from primarily Fall 2017) informing what their style would say.

“…maybe fashion photography should be more about the person you’re taking the photo of–their style and character.”

When boarding school buddies Wainwright and Neville began creating the foundation of Rag & Bone, it was based in craftsmanship and making good clothes, not the birth of a label. What feels right to Wainwright in 2017 is to look back to the emotion, the integrity of the clothes.

“…I think it’s about clarifying what we’ve been doing.”

Marcus Wainwright Quotes from Exhibition Notes
Photos: Dawn Bell Solich

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  • NYFW: A Yearning for Preservation at Rag & Bone, Published 2/17/17.

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