September 10, 2009 New York
It's true, Ruffian's brand of ladylike is about as far as it gets from the tough-chic body con and tailored androgyny that are fashion's current fixation. But it wasn't all frivolity and frills. The second look featured a vaguely military-looking dress with epaulets at the shoulders and two rows of brass buttons marching up the front, and the two slouchy, slightly oversize trenches in the same washed beach linen had a swagger that even the edgiest types probably couldn't resist. The team's second-skin jodhpurs—they called them "equestrian tights"—make for a sexy, seasonal alternative to the ubiquitous leather legging. Still, the show's strongest piece, a strapless dress in nubby black-and-white bouclé with a flash of baby pink at the neckline, was unabashedly feminine. Good for them for sticking to what they do best.