Ruffian designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais say for fall 2014 (now known as the season Derek Jeter retires as a Yankee, sad face) they “explored monastic opulence, tailored volume, and sober religious silhouettes — with lavish sumptuousness.”
Anyone who doesn’t think religion goes with fabulous has never been inside of a Catholic Church. Have you seen the Pope’s red Prada shoes? Better yet, have you been in a Cathedral, Mosque, or Synagogue of any sort? It’s all about opulence. And I mean that in the most spiritual sense of the word. The gold, the colors, the marble, the text, the stone, the robes, the staffs, the headpieces for religious leaders… It is ALL about honoring a higher power. A Papal changeover is one of the fanciest things you’ll ever see…and we’ve seen the white smoke come out for two of them in recent years. Ruffian aptly titled its fall showing at Lincoln Center “Rapture”.
The use of color is incredibly symbolic in the Catholic Church (as it is in most faiths). For Catholics, red symbolizes “the Passion”, blood, fire, God’s love, and it’s also the color of martyrs. I was blown away by the use of red in Ruffian’s Fall show, especially on legs. Those red legs were EVERYTHING. Instead of relying on black opaque tights to balance an outfit, why not go for red? My favorite use of the red tight was with an Axelle blouse in ivory Schumacher silk gossamer paired with an ivory Hanbok skirt. (I’m also a sucker for that cut of skirts and cinched waists). Making the look BEYOND was a gold Walter Steiger heel. Walter Steiger was responsible for all the heels ….and I loved them. This look was also done in a dramatic “Ruffian Red”.
Other key colors in the collection were purple, white, and black. In the Catholic faith, these are Liturgical colors. (Can you tell I spend Sundays doing the Sign of the Cross alongside Jim Caviezel at Old Saint Patrick’s in Manhattan?) Based on use of color alone, Ruffian excels at weaving a religious theme into its collection. Violet symbolizes penance, humility and sadness. White is the color of light, innocence, purity, joy, triumph and glory. And light is what we all need in life…and especially headed into fall and dark winter months. That should be reason enough to banish the “no white after Labor Day” myth.
Black is obviously the color of mourning and sorrow…or not so obviously, just being chic. Which brings me to another look that made my mouth drop. A long black robe with a high white ruffle collar played up the drama of seeing black gowns trail down Roman halls. It also reminded me a little bit of how Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg decks out her robes. Did you see her fancy turquoise neck piece at Obama’s last State of the Union? Hey, Girl!
One final word about the build of this show…obviously the headwear!!! Wolk and Morais pulled off their version of high priests of fashion with Ruffian for Stetson hats.
[Photo Credit: Kafi Drexel]
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