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Ruffian Fall 2012 Runway Show — A Tour Of The English Countryside

For Fall 2012, Brian Wolk and Claude Morais of Ruffian drew inspiration from the English countryside, envisioning a woman of means and high social stature who resides in an expansive manor or who perhaps vacations in a quaint cottage, filling her days with horseback rides, garden parties, and afternoon tea socials. Prim, buttoned-up silhouettes, then, seemed to reference the classic ensembles worn by the Duchess of Windsor in the mid-1950s, while riding pants and field jackets incorporated equestrian undertones, and velvet dresses and cameo-adorned blouses with high necklines were reminiscent of Deborah Kerr’s character in 1961’s The Innocents, a classic British horror film filmed in a Gothic mansion in Sheffield Park.

The abundance of expertly tailored skirt suits referenced the 1947-1957 “golden” era of Parisian and British couture, when the corseted and bustled gowns of yore had been replaced by more modern silhouettes (fitted blazers, skirts with shorter hemlines, trousers, and even trench coats) and yet the utilitarian uniforms of the  1941-1945 World War II era had been replaced by the “New Look,” introduced to great fanfare by Christian Dior in 1947. The New Look, of course, meant cinched waists, fuller skirts, and more opulent materials (as opposed to recycled threads). Interestingly enough, we didn’t see as many of the voluminous skirts associated with the New Look in this collection (perhaps because this would’ve made the reference point much more Parisian in nature), but we did see more refined trumpet skirts and cropped jackets.

Still, the utilitarian fashions of the 1940s weren’t completely overlooked — just subverted. A  Field coat in olive twill, for example, was transformed into a sophisticated winter wardrobe essential via the addition of squared black lambswool patches along the shoulders and a single row of leather-covered round buttons at the front and center of the piece (as shown last above)

Shadow wool plaid, purple wool plaid, flannel, and Glen wool plaid abounded in both long coats and wide-leg trousers, recalling the type of fashions associated with 1950s and 1960s England (even a cursory glance at the stills from My Week With Marilyn will show the American bombshell showcasing a more demure side during her 1956 tour of the English countryside, in which she was spotted wearing restrained plaid capri pants, sensible loafers, tons of head scarves, and camel trench coats, all looks which were painstakingly recreated by the film’s costume designer).

Most notably, there were hints of film noir-esque, femme fatale attitude in many of the runway looks — among them, the Spencer jacket in pink topaz lambswool and Diana skirt in pink topaz lambswool, paired with a bow camisole in a black cashmere knit (as shown above, next to last); and the Thompson short jacket in lapis blue lambswool and Diana skirt in lapis blue lambswool, styled with a bow camisole in lapis blue silk charmeuse and a matching fedora (shown above, at top). Both of these looks took the traditional skirt suit blueprint and made the scheme contemporary through the use of unexpected materials (like lambswool), the reliance on jewel tones (in this case, pink topaz and blue lapis), and top-notch tailoring details ranging from cropped cuts to leather-trimmed lapels and double rows of leather-covered buttons.  These ensembles, then, nodded to such femme fatales a Marlene Dietrich (think of her ensembles in Alfred Hitchcok’s Stage Fright), while making them all the more luxurious and modern.

Other unexpected surprises that straddled the line between tradition and modernity included the Moore cape in blue/grey wool melton (shown fourth from top, paired with the cropped Concerto pant in black lambswool), which featured a cocoon-like shape, two rows of oversize, black leather-covered round buttons along the cape’s front panel , roomy cropped sleeves with leather trim in a crescent moon shape accentuating the hips and streamlining the silhouette, and an upright, almost military-inspired collar. Another example: the Lennox Torsette in bronze lambskin paired with the Conerto skirt in olive wool twill (shown after the jump), which perhaps spoke most directly to the original inspiration behind the collection: Heny Moore‘s bronze sculptures erected along grassy expanses in the British countryside.

Most ensembles then, including the sheath dresses and body-conscious black silk velvet frocks, seemed befitting of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and yet the colors and materials used pushed the envelope more than any traditional royal would dare to attempt.

We even enjoyed the hints of Dick Tracy cool provided by the long cashmere coats, such as the Julia coat in Ruffian red wool melton (shown second from top) and the black cashmere Thompson coat that closed the show(shown after the jump, last).

Only a few pieces seemed a bit disjointed when compared to the rest of the collection — among them, a black velvet dress (shown after the jump) that seemed better suited for Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video and the Lennox Torsette sleeveless top in black lambskin paired with the cropped, wide-leg Concerto pant in black lambskin (also shown after the jump)  But, even if these pieces didn’t exactly fit the overall theme, they were still delightful in their own right.

Also worth noting: many of these looks involved monochromatic arrangements, with jackets, blouses, bottoms, shoes, and hats in a single hue. On the beauty front, many looks involved matching one’s lipstick shade with one’s ensemble and nail color, which could signal a return to this once ubiquitous trend.

Check out more runway looks after the jump!

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