This morning's Ruffian show started off with a sartorial bang as Siri Tollerod, clad in a slick patent leather blazer and skintight satin pants, stepped out to a pulsating disco-like beat. There's no question that designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais know their way around a Victorian-style suit, so it was a smart decision to show a collection heavy on jackets and trousers. But as for the heavy dose of patent that permeated the line, we weren't so sure about the overall effect. Megawatt shine can work well in small amounts--covering a coat's lapel or trimming a pocket, say--but skinny pants cut from the plastick-y material fell flat here. We did love the slouchy, cuffed, cropped trousers shown with several looks, however, and there were some lovely double-breasted coats, neat jackets, and tulip skirts in a "Prince of Wales" houndstooth. Considering that Wolk and Morais got their start crafting Edwardian ruff collars, it seemed only appropriate that many a silk button-up was finished off with furiously ruffled neckline--and there were also a handful of bow-tied "wingtip collars" in silver that almost seemed like costume jewelry (in the very best sense). Dubbed "Tuxedo Park" and inspired by gentlemen's tailoring and aristocratic suiting, the 32-look line also included a great, chevron-patterned black dinner jacket with dramatic tails and Monsignor blouses topped with lovely lace collars and cuffs. Very 1800s blue blood indeed. But with such successful takes on boys' duds, one only wished the Ruffian duo had worked in fewer party dresses. Those, covered in sequins, metallic-dipped lace, fringe, or a combination of all three, looked downscale in comparison to the earlier separates. Wolk and Morais do dapper far better than disco, and we don't see the harm in their sticking to what they know best.
**All photos: IMAXTREE