There are some (rare) instances during the collections when, after the applause and the bows and the door-dashing, you think, simply: That was a good show. The clothes needn’t have raised the bar conceptually; they just had to adhere solidly to what their designers believe in, what those designers champion. And that’s why Rag & Bone’s Fall (-ish, more on this in a moment) men’s lineup, which was shown alongside womenswear tonight, was one such occasion.
“It’s all of the Rag & Bone influences that we’ve used over the years, now in one show,” said Marcus Wainwright backstage, as his co-designer, David Neville, fielded congratulations. “The English tailoring and classic English fabrics, sports, technical outerwear,” he continued. “There’s a lot of esoteric fashion out there and it’s not what we stand for.”
True to his word, there was nothing hard to understand about these clothes, at least on the men’s side (admittedly, it was a little taxing to dart one’s eyes back and forth between the women and the men, which is why there were two Vogue Runway reviewers present tonight). Put earnestly, the collection embodied a return to form for Wainwright and Neville, recalling as much the early days of Rag & Bone—the stuff that made them so big to begin with, like the aforementioned sartorial Britishisms—as the more recent Rag & Bone, with technical applications abundant. A black woolen hoodie was expertly cut and exceptionally strong, all refined street and confidence. Look 1 featured a parka that everyone in the room could have benefited from this past weekend (the technical) over a skinny-sliced wool suit (the tailoring). The guys were also smart to include some slogan play (which can actually go wrong fast, but it’s on trend). Their phrase, as seen blown out on sweatshirts: Rag & Bone Universal. Fitting. Combined with muted bombers (less Alpha Industries swag, more soft and layerable), some nice tapered jeans, and outerwear for everywhere, almost everything pleased (though some of the BMX nods and a certain shade of tangerine seen on a quilted jacket were less successful).
To the point above about the season: Neville and Wainwright deliberately omitted the label Fallbefore 2016 on their show notes, which might signify a move into a more fluid collections schedule, like so many others are trying. (In fact, some of the looks from tonight are on sale now—is everyone doing this?) Maybe they needed the hanging prospect of big time-change in the industry to re-center themselves. Whatever it was, it worked. What a good show.