As editors go Kate Lanphear is one of my favourites. I mean, what's not to love. Her unique style continues to attract a herd of street style photographers at the shows and she managed to make the cast of 'High School Music' look interesting in American Elle and that's not easy by anyone's standards. You can imagine my delight then when I heard that Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais invited the editor to have an interview with them as a part of their La Vie en Ruffian Lunchtime Interview Hour.
In the interview Lanphear spoke about the rise of street style photography, the effect of her Southern upbringing on her style and why there's a disconnect between retailers and editors.
Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais know a thing or two about Edwardian tailoring, after all they are well-known for their Victorian aesthetic.
This season that transpired on strong lines on monochromatic blazers - that came with leather lapels- and wide leg trousers. Inspired by tailoring and aristocratic suiting, the collection was blazer-heavy in the classic boyfriend shape in a shiny black shade. Houndstooth featured throughout on boxy cropped jackets teamed with matching skirts teamed with Victorian blouses and also on double breasted jackets with leather sleeves. Although we give the pair kudos for being experimental with their signature aesthetic, the collection often felt haphazard and lacked cohesion and focus.
When your collection is called "Big Bang," you have plenty of expectations to live up to. Fortunately for Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Ruffian, they did. The designers based their 34 looks for A/W10 on interpretations of the Cosmos through time, with everything from Victorian-influenced wool peacoats in cleverly tailored wool (sourced from a supplier of traditional French army materials, said Morais) to modern party dresses, digitally printed with an image of the Orion Galaxy shot from the Hubble Space Telescope. All in all, the Ruffian boys crafted a set of highly wearable styles, with enough silver-spoon tailoring for the old-money set and a round of clubnight glitz for partygoers.
Before their show, Wolk and Morais said their best points of the collection would be new silhouettes (they're going for clean, slim lines) and carefully selected textiles. Besides the army-style wool, they chose French bouclé (in grey, after Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night) and light-as-a-feather mohair that allows for "gutsy" thicker shapes without adding bulk, explained Wolk. Besides that, this season Ruffian is going into knitwear from its own perspective. "I think we’re introducing sportswear shapes," said Morais. "We’re trying to approach knit, and I didn’t want to go into it the traditional knit way. So I thought for us to explore those textiles and to cut and sew them the American-sportswear way was interesting."
They kept us interested, alright. Wolk and Morais promised us yesterday morning that the inlaid pieces would be standouts, and they didn't lie. Slim-fitting, sequin-detail capes and black jersey minidresses with winding lambskin insets were some of our high points, and the excuse to see moiré leggings shiny enough to catch every bit of moonbeam? Now that makes us thankful that the designers chose to play space cadets this season.
Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, whose clothes reveal a hip Victoriana aesthetic, will launch a Williamsburg-inspired collection under Macy's private label, Thread & Heirs, in March. Durand Guion, Macy's Men's Fashion Director said the two designers were an ideal choice for the capsule collection, even though they hadn't done menswear in five years.
If you're wondering whether the Brooklyn-hipster look seems a little off trend, let Wolk put you straight: "You know, they always say St. Tropez - everyone goes to St. Tropez to see what the next trend is going to be in fashion. In a weird way I think Williamsburg is kind of the St. Tropez of New York fashion," he told the Cut at a preview of the line on Wednesday.
We've seen numerous designer diffusion lines available for women from the likes of Target, H&M and Uniqlo. A diffusion line for men, however, always seems to sit on the sidelines while us women spend the money, leaving our poor male counterparts with less choice. Macy's is finally changing that. Hiring Ruffian design duo Brian Wold and Claude Morais to create two capsule collections for their new men's designer diffusion line, named 'Thread & Heirs', the Macy's execs plan on having various fashion designers collaborating each season.
“I think we’re not giving men enough credit sometimes, and thinking they’re just looking for a basic sweater or T-shirt.” GQ's creative director Jim Moore told The Cut in February, "Especially at a price point of an H&M or a Uniqlo, they’re going to definitely experiment a little bit more and go for something that they might not normally wear.” Taking inspiration from Williamsberg and based on layering, Morais and Wold are excited at the prospect after not designing menswear for over five years. The first collection will be hitting 200 Macy's stores across America, with garments priced from $24 to $99. Looking at the illustrations for Ruffian's Thread & Heirs collection, the men won't be disappointed, either.