Rag & Bone: Inuit Inspiration, Cowskin & Sunburnt Beauty

We caught Rag & Bone designers Marcus Wainright and David Neville backstage before the fall 2011 womenswear show just hours after they'd debuted their fall collection for men earlier that day.

Speaking of the inspiration behind the women's collection, the designers explained: "It started with the people of the Arctic Circle, basically: Northern Sweden, the Inuit, Eskimos, Siberia. That was the inspiration for a lot of the fabric and texture, a lot of skins and that kind of thing." 

Indeed, the piece de resistance was a spectacular cowhide coat that came down the runway, amidst Seventies-leaning afghan knits and tweeds (with pops of cobalt described as "Arctic blue"), tartan and woolly fringe that Wainright ascribed to their love for English fabric.

Besides schoolgirl pleated skirts, jackets and knits, accessories were very strong: embellished cable-knit snoods, striped-sweater thigh-highs, wine-hued jodphurs.

The makeup, we were told, was based on a "weathered Eskimo" look, slightly sunburnt and totally natural -- no mascara or lipstick. Hair was equally low-key, with loose, tousled braids down the back and on the side.

The designers were in high spirits before the show, hanging out with friends and their respective adorable families, with plans to get drunk immediately after the show (Neville directed us to the Brass Monkey, to be exact). In all our serious talk of inspiration, Wainright paused to laugh: "These are just our reference points [I'm telling you about], it's not like we're trying to make Eskimo clothes!"

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