Collaborations are useful and efficient; sometimes, they can trite and tricky, but at other times, when it is organic and serendipitously, both parties involved have a seamless style and are in some ways, peas in the same pod, a collaboration can be the perfect matrimony with a happy ending. This is just the case for photographer Mark Borthwick and menswear label, Rag & Bone, as both parties share similar bucolic roots (Borthwick’s work is characterized by the dreamy flood of natural light which spill over the frames, and Rag & Bone was born in middle America starting out in Kentucky and is now still closely tied to middle America– a small town named Micaville nestled along the Appalachian Trails between North Carolina and Tennessee), and have recently collaborated on a series of photographs that were unveiled for display last night at Rag & Bone SoHo.
The series of photographs captured by Borthwick features friends and family of Rag & Bone, including its staff, model Jessica Stam and Vogue’s Sally Singer. The models donned Rag & Bone’s Spring 2010 collection and were styled by Vanessa Reid. This collection of photographs are characteristic of Borthwick’s languid and ruminative style that are often overexposed and, because of it, warm and comforting. Nature is a running motif in Borthwick’s work, and this is happily congruent with his teenage years, when Borthwick was quite the flower child, often spending his afternoons frolicking in the forests and gathering mushrooms which he would later turn into culinary concoctions for his friends. Since then, Borthwick might have moved on from England to opening up a small club in Paris then settled in New York City with his wife, fashion designer Maria Cornejo, but he carries his Bunyan-esque roots with him wherever he goes, in both his attitude and art. With a generous spirit, Borthwick prefers working with museum to galleries because there is no money involved, and the extensively published photographer (Borthwick has been published in some of fashion’s most renowned titles such as i-D, Vogue and Purple) has no qualms about giving his work away for free. He enjoys working on his own terms with artists such as Mike Mills, Aaron Rose and Sonic Youth.
On this note, his collaboration with Rag & Bone comes across as extremely genuine, not just because of Borthwick’s working preferences, but because the photographs’ serenity and warmth also attested to the down-to-earth vibes. At the opening reception yesterday, friends and family such as Coco Rocha, Michelle Trachtenberg , Gucci Westman and the co-founders of Rag & Bone (Marcus Wainwright and David Neville) joined in the celebration over champagne and bellinis, enjoying the display of photographs which now line the walls of Rag & Bone SoHo. Check out the event recap and the space now bedecked with Borthwick’s sensibility.