This season, it’s become abundantly clear that designers are trying to break out of the New York fashion week mold. Whether it’s rethinking the standard runway format or forgoing a show altogether, brands are embracing change more so than any time in recent memory—and that’s a good thing. The latest label to buck the system is Ruffian, which will be presenting its Spring ’15 collection in Hollywood on October 27 after years of holding down the Saturday 9 a.m. slot at Lincoln Center.
For designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the spontaneous decision to relocate their show followed a cross-country road trip peppered with trunk shows and press events that ended in Los Angeles, where they accepted a creative residency three months ago. With the help of the L.A. Tourism & Convention Board, the Ruffian boys set up a second studio in the historic Hancock Park neighborhood, and have been working on a lineup—all sourced and produced locally in L.A.—inspired by their new home-away-from-home. And while many forward-thinking talents (with Hedi Slimane being the poster boy, of course) have treated the City of Angels as a laboratory for ideas, few established brands have actually dared to show there until now, so perhaps Ruffian will spark a West Coast movement.
On the eve of NYFW, Style.com spoke with Wolk and Morais about leaving NYFW to show Spring ’15 in California, L.A.’s cultural renaissance, their plans for the future, and more.
Why was showing in L.A. this season the right move for you?
We have always been inspired by our community of artists. Over the last couple of years, many of our most talented fine arts collaborators and collector friends have moved to Los Angeles to show and to live. The West has always been associated with creative freedom and a wide-open landscape. During our three months’ residency here, we have had boundless inspiration, experienced extraordinary enthusiasm for our work, and have had the opportunity to form a fresh expression of our aesthetic within a new cultural context.
Did you know you would end up staying in L.A. after your #ruffianroadtrip?
We decided to cross-country by car after our Fall show, with L.A. being the final destination. At the time, we didn’t know L.A. would become the source of inspiration for our next collection, but sometimes you have to be able to listen to l’air du temps and react. We quickly discovered through our travels that the fashion diaspora was not limited to the geographical boundaries of any one city. The world has changed, and the availability of fashion online has blurred the boundaries of previously established fashion capitals. Now the global experience is informing the future of fashion more than ever. We as designers need to stay on our toes, and keep moving along with our clients. Being stagnant doesn’t seem to be the mode of the time.
Would you agree that L.A. is having a fashion moment?
Absolutely. The mood is palpable. It’s kind of a perfect storm of irreverence, street style, cinematic allure, and unapologetic glamour. Whether it’s a demure late-night dinner at the Sunset Tower, Giorgio’s Disco Saturday nights at The Standard, or a “cool” iced coffee at Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney, the diversity of the L.A. fashion repertoire and its focus on lifestyle is truly its strength.
Has the city changed your aesthetic in any way?
I think it’s always exciting to be in a new environment when you design. In terms of our aesthetic, we’ve always liked to say we dress the “impeccable rebel,” and that hasn’t changed so much. What has changed is the new environment that we’re in, in terms of different clients and different collaborators who help form the collection.
What can you tell me about your plans for the show and the Spring ’15 collection itself?
We’re going to be showing at Sarah Gavlak’s recently opened gallery in Hollywood on the corner of North Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Sarah is someone we’ve known for quite a while from New York, who also has a gallery in Palm Beach. Her new space is incredible, and she works with a group of artists who we have strong relationships with. We’re still figuring out the actual logistics of the show, but really want to reflect Los Angeles in terms of the way we present it. The collection itself is inspired by the graphics of the city, and you’ll learn more about that as we get closer to the show.
Do you anticipate that showing in L.A. in October will affect your sales in any way?
All of our retailers are totally on board, and we’re going to be doing our market in New York as per usual. Obviously, we had extensive conversations with everyone before making the decision to go ahead with the plan. For buyers, it’s a rolling calendar anyways these days, and they are open to looking at Spring and Fall with different timing. It’s going to be an interesting experiment for us, but at the end of the day, the business element is just as important to us as the art.
Do you plan on staying there, or will you return to NYFW?
Well, New York is where our books and our lives and our apartment and our permanent studio are, but we would like to keep a studio here in Los Angeles. The bicoastal life has been good to us, so you’ll have to stay tuned.
Each week, renowned artist and fashion illustrator Cédric Rivrain unveils an exclusive drawing on Style.com. See fashion through his eyes, below.
Malaika Firth in Anthony Vaccarello
“A red lacquered leather ruffle grows from a sharply cut chest to bloom into a beautiful, poisonous, fatal flower.”—Cédric Rivrain
Avant-garde conceptual publication Visionaire has always been about art meeting design, and after releasing the first Visionaire x Gap T-shirt collaboration during Art Basel in Miami Beach and the second during Frieze New York, Visionaire cofounders Cecilia Dean and James Kaliardos thought that the next one should be unveiled during a fashion event. So, on September 4, just in time for New York fashion week, Gap and Visionaire will release the third installment of their T-shirt collaboration with a special installation at the Gap on 34th Street in New York.
The starting point for The Gold Collection, which will consist of 15 T-shirts featuring work by various artists produced in a limited run of 500 each, was the Forever issue. “It was an issue of Visionaire that was made entirely out of metal,” explained Kaliardos. For the shirts ($34.95 each), they selected artwork from the issue by Vik Muniz, Alexis Rockman, James Nares, Peter Saville, Philip Taaffe, Adam Fuss, Simon Periton, Pierpaolo Ferrari, François Berthoud, Ugo Rondinone, Mark Romanek, Blommers/Schumm, and Fifty Shades of Grey film director Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Ever the experimentalists, Kaliardos and Dean made sure to step outside the box for this project. “We wanted this time to play with many different techniques with the gold as possible,” explained Kaliardos. “So we have foil stamping, and we have dot screen, and we have triple-gold ink printing.” One T-shirt depicts Nares’ signature brushstroke in the form of a gold circle; another by Rockman, who constantly paints animals in his work, shows a painting of a porcupine-pig hybrid accompanied by the phrase “P is for Porcupig”; and Muniz’s is covered entirely with an image of multicolored puzzle pieces.
One of the T-shirts, which shows an illustration featuring symbols and directions for handling art conceived by artist John Baldessari, is a preview of Visionaire‘s upcoming Art issue. “We didn’t want to reveal any of the artwork from the actual issue,” said Dean. “But it’s called Art, and so I thought it was kind of funny that his T-shirts are all symbols of packaging for shipping art, and being on a T-shirt, with a person wearing it—it’s sort of like you’re treating yourself as a work of art, and that’s very much what the issue is about.”
The next installment of the Visionaire x Gap T-shirt series, which will debut in October, was conceptualized with the cooler months ahead in mind and will feature an image by the legendary editor Diana Vreeland. “We’re doing sweatshirts as well, which we’re really excited about,” said Dean. “That’s going to release at Frieze in London.”
Last week was Denim Week here at Style.com, otherwise known as a five-day indigo marathon in which we covered jean labels high and low, old and new. One on-the-rise brand that grabbed our attention was Re/Dun, a project from Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur that manages to combine our love of vintage denim with our need for a perfect fit.
“The most important thing we look for in a pair of vintage jeans is that they’re beautifully and authentically worn in,” Mazur told Style.com. “Seeing thousands of pairs of these jeans, you develop an eye for unique-looking wear patterns. We also look for something that can’t be replicated in a factory on a new pair of jeans.”
For Re/Dun’s latest offerings, Barron (who previously launched Joie) and Mazur (who founded Underground Denim) created a limited-edition collection of heavily patched, reconstructed, and handmade jeans made of vintage Levi’s 501s called Re/Pair Re/Dun. “The vibe is artisanal and individualist,” Barron said. “Each pair is so unique and handcrafted without looking ‘hippie.’ It’s the modern version of the vintage patchwork jean.”
Fashion art directors Marie Noorbergen and Aurelie Pyvka (whose résumés include Dior, Kenzo, and Jil Sander) got so inspired by the patched-up jeans during a recent studio visit that they enlisted Pyvka’s husband, Arnaud, for an impromptu ad campaign shoot in Venice. The images, featuring the jeans and loose white blouses, reflect Re/Dun’s love of well-worn, deeply personal classics. The campaign shots debut exclusively here on Style.com. “When we saw the images, we were blown away,” Barron said. “It’s exactly how we envisioned telling the story.”
Re/Pair Re/Dun jeans, $229 to $338, are available today on redun.com.
Today, the Internet exploded following editors’ receipt of the modeling agencies’ Spring ’15 show packages. Why, you might wonder? Because reality-TV-star-turned-high-fashion model Kendall Jenner appeared on her card listed only as Kendall—that is, sans her last name, à la Iman, Gisele, or Twiggy. Twitter instantly began buzzing about the surname drop—is Kendall trying to separate herself from the Kardashian/Jenner clan? We checked in with Society Management, who has represented Kendall since the Fall ’14 season, when she made her debut walking in Marc Jacobs and Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy, and a representative told us the whole ordeal was much ado about nothing. In fact, according to her agency, Kendall has been listed with her first name only since Day One.
Considering that Kim and Kanye’s Tisci connection has unquestionably helped boost Kendall’s visibility, it seems unwise that she’d blatantly, and publically, distance herself from her reality-TV kin. However, Society’s assertion still leaves one question: Does Kendall, who’s been around for all of one season, have enough cred to go by a single moniker? Only time will tell, but we have to say, she’s well on her way to proving herself after her runway romps (she walked in Chanel Couture this summer) and appearing in the Fall Givenchy campaign, as well as on the covers of Teen Vogue and Love. Keep it up, young lady.