When Ruffian was born about a decade ago, designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais were going after an upper-crusty lady-who-lunches type. As they've grown up, they've rejiggered things, and now they have that matron's
granddaughters in their sights. Their new Spring collection was their youngest in spirit yet. Devoid of all the accessories that weighed down their Fall show, it looked particularly fresh.
Françoise Sagan's novel Bonjour Tristesse and the Jean Seberg movie that was based on it were their starting points (Claude is French Canadian, so they love a Gallic reference). Saint-Tropez in the fifties came through in the adorable leather-fringed, polka-dotted flats the models wore. A new collaboration with Allagiulia, the shoes will be a hit with Ruffian customers. So will the almost-but-not-quite-prim blouses in pretty French cotton floral and the exceedingly well-cut ankle-cropped pants in jewel-toned cotton silk. A shift in black-and-white bouclé with rubber-coated vulcanized canvas insets could go either way: good girl or bad. Tristesse's Cecile, as anyone who saw the film knows, was something of a hellion, so there was more spice than sugar in this lineup. A silk and cotton pantsuit in sea green looked striking and well constructed, but it's the rubberized cotton biker jackets (like leather, but a lot less expensive!) that are going to speak to the Ruffian girl.