David Neville and Marcus Wainwright like to play up their bloke-ish charm. When Wainwright tells you that he's been geeked out on the Paris–Dakar rally since he was a kid, it's pretty easy to imagine young Marcus seated at the telly, rapt at the vision of a motocross driver shimmering in the Saharan heat. The Paris–Dakar was the starting point for Rag & Bone
this season, and the designers' fluency with the source material galvanized a strong, focused collection.
Some of the best looks here were the most literal. Take the low-slung black leather trousers on Aymeline, finished with racing stripes, or the seriously cool moto vests and jackets made out of luxe Italian silk satin. Perforated leather clutches and the palette's hi-vis corals, greens, and blues reinforced the motocross theme. But what made the collection not just shoppable but interesting were the intuitive leaps Neville and Wainwright took. They linked the driver in the desert to the Bedouin tribe emerging out of the background heat, and connected the Bedouins' cotton headscarves and robes to the cotton nightshirts, petticoats, and baggy khakis worn by Victorians on safari. And then, just because they could, Neville and Wainwright simultaneously updated the adventuring theme and brought it back round to motocross by doing a collaboration with Oakley. Oakley! The fashion redemption of which can only mean that some years hence, Crocs will have a moment. Yikes.
Anyway. The refreshing thing about today's show was its clarity. There was relatively little of the layering that the duo have tended to overdo in recent seasons. That allowed strong looks, such as the zip-away parachute dresses, to stand out alone. And what layering there was felt appropriate and specific. Overall, there was an aura of confidence here—unsurprising, given Wainwright and Neville's command of their clothes' vernacular. Let this collection be a reminder to them that all future ones pass the geek-out test.