Rag & Bone, designed by Marcus Wainright, helped kick off NYFW Fall 2020 women’s show on a crisply cold and windy night in Battery Park City, just the type of weather conditions that make for perfect fall dressing viewing. Guest receiving their e-vites with were informed that show would “take a non-traditional approach to the show with a technical audio-visual experience”, a smart disclaimer to peak guest’s interests.
A massive semi-circle screen, presumably from one of the sponsors Panasonic set the backdrop for the runway, which was relatively short, as guest sat in bleachers facing it in a semi-circle opposite. The music which was arranged by DJ Kris Bones opened the voice of David Bowie, was challenging the creative process giving soundbites such as “remember the reason you started what you are doing”; “if you manifest it you will understand yourself better,” “reach out of your depth,” and “don’t fulfill other people’s expectations.”
The screen projected artwork by the firm Limelight set to the experimental techno music with digitized forms of panoramic street views of both New York and London’s architecture. This made perfect sense as the remaining founder and designer Marcus Wainwright is an Englishman in New York. The 3-D digital maps of the cities resembled a computer game and morphed from a standard depiction into abstract structures. For instance, the building and bricks of NYC became lifelike beings. London Bridge also shape-shifted.
Throughout, a not so subtle reference to our new world, viewers traveled visually through miles and miles of worldwide web cables, symbolizing connectivity and a new way of viewing the world. This vision was taken to the collection as it was ripe with notions of taking items that we are used to seeing one way – especially from the genres of American workwear, military, sport and of course British tailoring and giving them a new perspective.
Models walked the runway and the semi-circular set like a constant loop mimicking the information traveling through the cables. An oversized trench in a glen plaid opened the show suggested a voluminous, oversized take on the classic, a traditional green parka coat was given a reset with a bulbous oversized shaped and short cape sleeves and Fair Isle sweaters were deconstructed and worn from the inside out. Styling of the show added to the unexpected ways to see the wardrobe staples – for instance, a plaid tailored overcoat was placed over a black fitted blazer, with oversized men’s white shirt and black leather mini.
The video screen was mesmerizing; it was hard to focus on both. As it progressed it referenced past Rag & Bone campaigns and also addressed our environmental concerns with digitized depictions of the California wildfires. Rag & Bone clothes make a statement without having to scream – they represent both effortless cool personas who inhabit both “uptown’ and downtown” mentalities as well as being not so intimidating for the newbie who wants to try a new cool persona. Giving us the collection with equally visual and mental stimuli felt fresh as if Wainright knows we have more to pay attention to than his covetable offerings.