Rag & Bone Celebrated 15th Anniversary With Vintage Winona Ryder Photos and a "Damn Good Party"
“Quite honestly, I woke up on the morning of the election and thought, ‘We really can’t do a fashion show,’ ” said creative director Marcus Wainwright of skipping the traditional runway presentation.
“A little snow won’t stop us!” read an email from Rag & Bone's PR team on Thursday evening.
The note was a reminder that, despite the blizzardlike conditions, which resulted in the cancellation of several flights into New York's JFK Airport the evening prior, the brand’s photo event and “Damn Good Party” would go on as promised.
Guests (many of whom were wearing Rag & Bone bombers under their Canada Goose and Mackage puffer coats) shuffled into the event space in Chelsea, where the American brand was celebrating its fall 2017 collection, as well as its 15th anniversary, with a photo exhibition, as opposed to its traditional runway show.
The project was lauded as a "celebration of Rag & Bone’s commitment to experimenting with photographic mediums and its relationship with a diverse cast of characters." The fall 2017 photo concept, which spanned three walls of the gallery space, was photographed over the course of two days by Glen Luchford and Frank Lebon and includes more than 60 subjects — from CFDA president Steven Kolb to supermodels Amber Valletta and Joan Smalls to NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
Interspersed throughout the center of the room was a collection of photographs from past Rag & Bone campaigns. Images of Jerry Seinfeld, Mark Hamill, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Kate Moss were spotted, as were photo-booth-style images of Winona Ryder from the 2014 campaign, which prove that the Stranger Things star's nutty facial expressions from the 2017 SAG Awards are nothing new.
Whereas other brands cite the changing fashion scene — from the see-now, buy-now movement to the eventization of fashion shows — as a reason for skipping out on the traditional runway presentation, creative director Marcus Wainwright (who parted ways with creative partner David Neville last summer) noted that it was the current political atmosphere that inspired his choice.
“Quite honestly, I woke up on the morning of the election and thought, ‘We really can’t do a fashion show’ — I didn’t really know why, but it just didn’t feel right. I’m happy we made that decision because it just seems odd, in some way, to do a show now — culturally,” he said in a conversation with project curator Lou Stoppard about his decision.
“We didn’t start as a fashion brand,” he continued, acknowledging the brand’s roots as a company devoted to crafting denim. “Somehow, we became a part of the fashion world. … I think [the exhibition] is about clarifying what we’ve been doing.” Indeed, the clothing (women's bomber jackets in olive green, a red-and-khaki plaid men's coat and, of course, denim) felt completely secondary in the setting.
But about that "Damn Good Party." As far as DJs go, Rag & Bone had one of the best: longtime collaborator Thom Yorke, who has mixed sets for runway shows in the past, as well as Nigel Godrich and Kris Bones, who spun tunes while partygoers enjoyed a taco truck serving mini carnitas and chicken tacos. Several of the featured models, including Valletta, Smalls, Keri Russell and Haley Bennett, were in attendance, as were Neville, Anna Wintour and model-actress Rainey Qualley.
The verdict? It was, indeed, a damn good party.