Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Hello, Rag and Bone audience!
It's a long way from Dakar to New York and then to London, but that's the trajectory taken by Rag and Bone which culminated in a presentation of their SS13 collection on Saturday afternoon of LFW. Let me explain if you were wondering why geography has anything to do with this post. If you haven't already seen Rag and Bone's SS13 collection, then you should know that it is made up of soft, loose cottons including hoods to drape gently over your head and fierce leather trousers, jackets and skirts, some in blinding neon colours. This is the Dakar bit, referring specifically to the Paris-Dakar rally- a hardcore off-road race which used to run, as the name suggests from Paris to Dakar, Senegal. Due to safety issues, it now takes place in South America but Rag and Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright drew inspiration from the combination of souped up cars and their crews, as well as the Bedouins whose territory the race would cross.

Paris-Dakar 2001 (image from www.usautoparts.net)
Bedouin styling (image from style.com)
The New York bit is obvious. Rag and Bone is a distinctly NY label even though the designers are British- they occupy a place on the city's fashion week schedule and slot nicely into the attitude and cool which defines a modern New York aesthetic. They have six stores in New York, and one a piece in Washington, Boston , Tokyo and now London. The only European store opened on Sloane Square back in July, so to celebrate the brand decided to host a presentation during London Fashion Week, with an official store opening by Anna Wintour at the same time. Natty. It was all well and good for Wintour who smashed champers over the door frame before crossing the road for the presentation. For the rif-raf (which still includes key editors and fashion directors of top publications) there was a long, confused and crowded wait as realisation dawned that there were to be two presentations and we would have to wait. I think quite a few gave up, judging by some tweets I saw but after being plied with free drink all the invited who stuck it out eventually made it in. There was none of the usual show diplomacy with carefully thought out seating plans, instead there was one bench at the front reserved for the most special of guests and beyond that, a free for all.

Even before it began, Rag and Bone in London was something different. Then it got fun and savvy. The screens which had been white with the brand logo flickered to life to show the audience reflections of ourselves. The fact that this made us so much more than observers became clear once the models emerged, dressed in looks seen already in New York. If anyone was moved enough to make any kind of facial expression then everyone would be able to see. There's one look- the green leather skirt you'll see details on below- which really makes me smile, perhaps that came across in the footage beamed onto the screen when the model passed my way.

Presentation over, we were shown out and, ta-da, were facing the Rag and Bone store. I guess if you were lucky enough to have a little LFW time to kill you could have popped straight in and bought something if you'd loved the presentation enough. It would have been fascinating to see how a "See and Buy" system could have worked, like the one Topshop Unique employed. Topshop let customers watching online click, choose the colours and buy looks as soon as they saw them streamed on the website. They'll be delivered to them in eight weeks time. Clever. I'm not sure Kings Road locals can have been mightily impressed to have hoardes of fashion people causing chaos in the square on their quiet Saturday afternoon stroll. But it definitely showed them what Rag and Bone is all about.

My favourite look- big zips, cracked graffiti paint-ish leather and a massive white shirt, what's not to love?

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