Dance and fashion have long been intertwined. Back in the day, with the advent of MTV and dance features like Flashdance (1983), DIY work out clothes that we dancers had been making for years suddenly emerged into consumer culture. Things like tights transformed into over the head sheer tops with sleeves, and tee shirts cropped or cut from the neck became the fodder of mainstream youth and fashion companies.
And some years later when big companies like Gap and Target focused their sights on a younger demographic, many brilliant commercial spots featuring dance to showcase clothing lines were created by talented choreographers, directors, and dancers. Dance became such an iconic branding tool that Apple’s iPod was able to reduce it to a mere graphic suggestion, with the simple static silhouette of a dancer moving in front of a color block, hooked up to the device in his/her ear.
Enter rag & bone.
The ultra hip NY based line of high-end fashion company known for its quality jeans and casual wear has stepped up to the plate with a super cool promo for their Fall/Winter Collection by director Wendy Morgan. This spot ups their arts ante by featuring recent MacArthur Genius Award recipient, choreographer Kyle Abraham. Kyle, who both dances in and choreographed the piece, moves sensitively and beautifully along with his partner Indigo Ciochetti, a lovely alumna of LA’s amazing Los Angeles County High School of the Arts (LACHSA). Abraham’s inclusion in and of itself sets this spot apart. While he is most definitely known amongst those in and/or following the contemporary dance world, he is hardly a mainstream household name.
The promo spot, which is set in what seems to be the go-to destination for dance films – yet another moody warehouse – “slips between two realms. One is real life New York City, and the other is a heightened, stylized world that takes a romantic look at rag & bone’s inspirations,” as per director Morgan.
I love the gentle and sensitive non-rhythmic use of score (“The Rain” performed by K- OS, written and produced by Kevin Brereton), the inter-cut shots of water rapids, birds, and city folk, the slow motion movement, which eschews sincerity and not flashiness. And of course I especially love seeing two dancers, with the weight, color, and aspect of real people, moving beautifully.