show and tell

Desert Racing and Graphic Greens at Rag & Bone

This afternoon, in a cavernous hangar behind the sprawling post office on West 33rd Street, rag & bone presented their spring 2013 line to a large crowd of tastemakers — including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Grace Coddington, Bruce Weber, and Christy Turlington — plus a slew of top editors and buyers.

The collection’s racy inspiration was the Paris-Dakar Rally, explained the label’s designer, Marcus Wainwright. “I used to watch the rally on TV as a kid, these guys were racing, flying through the desert on very techy modern motorbikes and trucks covered in stickers. It’s very graphic and super colorful.” And was it colorful! One family of looks in particular — all bright greens, crisp whites, and jet blacks — looked positively jolting. Bright blues and rosy pinks mimicked what Wainwright described as “a modern paint job. You see a very blue sky against a very red [desert] sand.” Taking a feminine turn with the racing stripe, Wainwright ran it along the shoulders of a tiny bright-green bolero and placed dentelle lace under a nylon hem, adding a playful touch to a slouchy anorak look.

The collection as a whole was well composed. Each look was deftly balanced in mood, fabric, and shape, never veering into the overly girly or overly sporty. Masculine silhouettes played against feminine flowing fabrics: Substantial jackets were layered over long fluttering shirts and light petticoats; sheer synthetic nylon was mixed with heftier canvas. “The exciting thing for us is the experimentation of the silhouette; a play on proportion. Massive shorts, tiny jacket; massive jacket, tiny shorts — always keeping in mind the balance of each look. That’s how people dress.”