CLÁSSICO GENTLEMAN David Gandy by Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca GQ STYLE BRAZIL June 2014
(1) Richard Anderson, shirt Acquascutum, tie Turnbull & Asser (2) Nell Fennel, shirt Emma Willis, tie Turnbull & Asser (3) Richard Anderson, coat Hardy Amies, shirt Turnbull & Asser, tie Emma Willis, sunglasses Cutler and Gross (4) Anderson & Sheppard, jacket Belstaff, shirt Emma Willis (5) Gieves & Hawkes watches all Omega Speedmaster
Marcus Wainwright on going solo at Rag & Bone, spirituality and Instagram
All exposed brickwork and piping, on first impression Marcus Wainwright’s office might seem just like any other Meatpacking District loft. Look a bit closer, though, and you soon start to see the spoils of 15 very successful years spent in fashion. There are framed letters of congratulations from former President Barack Obama, from American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and from Ralph Lauren. There is a handwritten card in which Cate Blanchett gushes that she is ‘such a devotee’. On the floor, among stacks and stacks of books (to be honest it’s a bit of a tip), is the Royal typewriter that provided Wainwright’s label, Rag & Bone, with its signature lowercase font.
Wainwright himself is sitting behind his heavyset dark wood desk having his photo taken. Until last year, there was another desk just like his in here, and these photos would also have featured another man — his business partner David Neville, a fellow Brit who he first met aged 14 at Wellington College (a boarding school near Reading), and who joined the company in 2005 as co-director. But although Neville still retains his shares and seat on the board, in mid-2016 he left the building to invest in other ventures (including one with his wife, renowned make-up artist Gucci Westman, who is launching her own skincare line).
Thus Wainwright has now taken on the commercial side of Rag & Bone as well as the creative, heading up a team of 300 and a global empire of 36 stores. He is now both the creative director and sole CEO of a brand that reportedly generated more than $300m (£235m) in revenue last year, and which is still growing all the time. Witness the huge new flagship store that has opened this week on the corner of Beak Street and Great Pulteney Street in Soho: a five-storey late-Victorian building that will serve as its European HQ, and in which Wainwright’s friend Stanley Donwood — the British artist best known for creating Radiohead’s album covers — has painted a vast black and white London skyline mural.
‘It’s a bit of a headf***,’ he admits when asked how he’s coping day to day with overseeing such big steps alone. ‘He used to run the business side of things, I always used to run the creative side of things. Now I have to run everything. That took a bit of getting used to. I’m getting the hang of it I think, although I still can’t really read a spreadsheet.’ Why did the band split up? ‘It was the end of an era. We achieved a lot together and it was just one of those things,’ Wainwright shrugs. ‘David decided that he wanted to go off and do some other stuff and I felt like I could take Rag & Bone in a singular direction.’ To illustrate the duality of his new position, there is a drawing table off to one side lined up with his sketchbooks containing years of ideas, designs and doodlings, some of which have been embellished in places by his kids. So Wainwright can literally roll between the two roles on his swivel chair.
The nonchalant air of artful dishevelment about Wainwright and his workspace is very much the pervading Rag & Bone aesthetic. Born in Greece before moving to Bangladesh and Switzerland with his diplomat parents, he had no formal training as a fashion designer but grew up with an appreciation for bespoke tailoring. From the age of 16, his grandmother would pay for him to have a suit made each year for his birthday. Later he spent more than a year in a denim factory in Kentucky learning the rudiments from lifelong artisans before the place went out of business. All this is weaved into Rag & Bone’s various lines: ready-to-wear women’s, men’s, jeans, shoes, accessories. ‘We ended up with a lot of American workwear with English tailoring details; general construction points that are taken from English cues and applied to American clothes.’
It was love that originally brought Wainwright to America. He had quit a ‘lucrative but soul-destroying’ telecoms job in London, rented out his flat in Stockwell and gone backpacking to Mexico where he met his now wife, Glenna Neece, who was working there as a model. He followed her back to New York. Today they live in a $6.75m (£5.3m) house in Cobble Hill Historic District, a family-friendly part of brownstone Brooklyn, with their three kids, Noah, 10, Henry, eight, and Cate, five, who are all at a local private school. Neece is now a herbalist who practises reiki. Is he into all that too? ‘Not per se, but I drink what she gives me,’ he says. ‘And I’m getting spiritual in my old age. I meditate.’
To complete the idyll, the family also has a weekend retreat in the Hamptons: a converted barn with a pool in Bridgehampton. ‘I have a Land Rover that I drive on the beach, which I love,’ he says. ‘We used to go every weekend until my kids starting playing sport. Weekend soccer kills you!’ Just recently, however, Wainwright enjoyed a rare weekend. ‘I took time for myself,’ he says. He went to Seattle for a business meeting and then stayed on his own. ‘I just drew, walked around, ate sushi, drank beer. Then I went to a Radiohead concert.’ He’s friends with the band. ‘I get to go and sit in the dressing room, so it’s pretty fun.’
For someone who claims to not be a ‘social guy’, Wainwright certainly rubs shoulders with an interesting set of creative types with whom he collaborates on various projects. He’s made short conceptual films using parkour or interpretive dance and held portrait photo exhibitions in place of runway shows. His latest enterprise was to fund a quirky short film called Hair, which debuted at Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival in April — a five-minute two-hander set in a Williamsburg barbershop between Hollywood actors Bobby Cannavale (Vinyl) and John Turturro (The Night Of). The entire wardrobe is Rag & Bone. ‘It was completely ad-libbed, there was no script and they could wear whatever they wanted,’ says Wainwright. ‘It’s pretty funny.’
Wainwright says he hates Instagram and has never been on Facebook. ‘It’s just a way of communication that I don’t think is healthy,’ he says. ‘[Other designers] seem very focused on the Instagram crowd. I’m not going to spend a million dollars in eight minutes, which is what a show costs. It’s a disgusting waste of money when no one gives a s***. I’ll think, “How can I spend that million dollars in a really authentic and inspiring way?” Film is perfect for that.’
Sounds like a smart business decision. It seems life as a solo artist is treating Wainwright just fine thus far. And how is Neville getting on? ‘I don’t know how he is doing with his venture. I spoke to him last week but I didn’t ask. He was skiing — he’s been skiing twice, which isn’t very fair. I can imagine it’s quite a big change for him. It’s a big change for me,’ he laughs.
So I so have this vision of the red and blue teams having a coffee shop war, where they both somehow manage to have coffee shops on the same street and neither will move which causes conflict. Caboose can’t make coffee to save his life, and he was living in the coffee shop having lost his home (it burned down somehow). So Church is forced to take him in, and much hilarity and loving ensues.
Meanwhile Tucker is flirting with all the ladies and trying to ignore the fact that he might be attracted to David Washington a business man who actually doesn’t like coffee but still comes every morning because he might have a thing for the cute busboy aka Tucker.
And the reds are of course and the freelancers are business people…and yeah…that was it.
David Vause was a special man, he had his own business, had a lot of money, had everything a man in his late 40′s could wish for, he started from the bottom and built his way to the top like his father before him and his father before him, David Vause was also a stone cold killer, he’d scout the local nightclubs or coffee shops for young men or women, charm them, date them for a few months to a year and then kill them in cold blood.
David was in the local coffee shop buying his usual order, when he came across a tall young man with soft brown curly hair and big brown eyes, perfect, he accidentally bumped into him, spilling his coffee over the young man’s coat, “Oh, I’m dreadfully sorry.” he said.
Will pauses before gently grasping David's hand tugging it slightly " daddy... Daddy " he whispers, before gently poking him with a small package " can we buy this? " a small pacifier with a puppy on the front stared the man in the face
David was busy looking at the baby section. If his friends could stop having kids it would be great. He dragged Will along with him for some entertainment.
“What? There’s me thinking you’d want that.” He jokingly poked a breast pump and looked around and seeing no one looking gave him a sweet kiss. “Sure baby, why don’t you choose two.”