This has been a big year for David Neville and Marcus Wainwright. With new stores opening seemingly every other month and a high-profile documentary being shot by September Issue director, R.J. Cutler, Rag & Bone is on the fast-track to becoming the Next Big Thing.
The young brand has built a reputation for precise tailoring and specific, deeply-considered historical references, like last season's turn-of-the-century British explorers. But had you not read the press release before today's show (and, actually, we prefer not to, just to see whether we can guess the concept without being told), there was nothing immediately historical or anecdotal about Rag & Bone's Spring '11 collection.
Instead, the combative, strapped-together looks that stomped down the runway were agressively modern riffs on "desert warfare," from the soft gauzy chiffons of Lawrence of Arabia to the hard metallics and synthetic textures of military techology. A mirage-like burst of colorful printed pieces--adapted from a photo Marcus took on vacation in Bequia--gave energy to the otherwise sandy beige and metallic collection.
Literally strapping the whole collection together were sporty bits of of colorful lingerie, developed in collaboration with designer Jean Yu, which were styled with everything from tops and tunics to dresses and jackets--and, on a few occasions, with nothing at all.
Nestled shoulder-to-shoulder in the front row sat glittering Voguettes Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Meredith Melling Buke, and Tonne Goodman, who nodded their approval throughout--except Anna, of course, though we interpreted the flexing veins in her crossed arms as a sign of approval. Afterwards, a breathless Grace Coddington rushed backstage to offer her praises to the designers. "You guys are good. Seriously good."