Rag & Bone Heads South, I Follow: My Charleston Diary
Last week, I jetted down to Charleston, South Carolina to join Hampden Clothing for the boutique's fifth anniversary celebration. But this was no ordinary cocktail party—it was an epic two-day event that included a private shopping day with Rag & Bone's David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, a old-fashioned barbecue and bluegrass party and a re-staging of the designers' Spring 2012 runway show. As it turns out, Hampden's owner Stacy Smallwood loves nothing more than throwing a major party—and this particular event took a full year to plan and prep.
After touching down in Charleston (which, for those unaware, is regularly ranked as one of Condé Nast Traveler's top five cities—and came in at #1 last year), I headed to Hampden to meet David, Marcus and Stacy for a little one-on-one retail therapy. The Hampden and Rag & Bone teams had teamed up to create a temporary shop-in-shop within the boutique that reflected the label's signature rustic-chic aesthetic—and from the burlap curtains to the stacked mason jars and decorative antlers, it completely channeled the look of the design duo's many brick-and-mortar stores. And while David and Marcus confessed they hadn't spent much time in the Deep South before, they seemed right at ease amongst Hampden's customers, who were grabbing electric-blue blazers and parachute skirts by the armful.
Later that evening, I was invited to Stacy's family home on the Isle of Palms, where a flag bearing Hampden's logo was flying alongside the Union Jack (in honor of the boys' UK roots, of course). In between filling up on roast pig and succotash and mingling under the fairy lights out on the lawn, the designers toasted Hampden's fifth year in business. "I remember when Rag & Bone was just me and Marcus," said David, his beer glass held high. "We were putting in UPS orders and filling out order forms all by ourselves. But Stacy believed in us from the very beginning—and five years later, here we are. It's incredible." And it's clear the label's got a big Charleston fan base—looking around the party, at least half the girls were wearing Rag & Bone's famous colorful skinny jeans. Hello, denim rainbow!
On the last day of the anniversary festivities, we convened at Westbrook Brewery in Mount Pleasant for a recreation of Rag & Bone's spring show. After a brew (okay—a few), I took my seat alongside a hundred or so guests in a giant space lined with beer tanks and circling pipes. Models marched out in colorful, sporty looks—all of which became available for guests to purchase right after the presentation. "From the moment we opened our doors," said Stacy, "we carried Rag & Bone. And I like to think that we have evolved together over the past five years." We can't wait to see what the future holds for both this must-visit boutique and the designers who helped host the weekend's events.
Click through the slideshow to check a photo diary of my Hampden x Rag & Bone experience. Needless to say, I will definitely be visiting Charleston again in the near future.
Hampden Clothing, 314 King Street, Charleston, SC 29401; hampdenclothing.com
Rag & Bone's Hampden shop-in-shop.
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