RUFFIAN, New York Fashion Week, FW2011

The origins of semi-formal attie date back to the 1800s when Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, wanted more comfortable dinner attire than the swallowtail coat. In the Spring of 1886, the Prince invited James Potter, a wealthy New Yorker, and his wife, Cora, to Sandringham House, the Prince’s hunting estate in Norfolk. When Potter asked the Prince’s dinner dress code, the Prince sent him to his tailor, Henry Poole & Co., in London, where he was given a suit made to the Prince’s specifications with a dinner jacket. On returning to Tuxedo Park, New York (developed as a resort for Blue Blood Society in 1886), Potter’s dinner suit proved popular at the Tuxedo Park Club. Not long afterward, when a group of men from the club chose to wear such suits to a dinner at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City, other diners were surprised. They were told that such clothing was popular at Tuxedo Park, so the particular cut then became known as the “Tuxedo”. From its creation into the 1920’s, this dinner jacket was considered appropriate dress for dining in one’s home or club, while the tailcoat remained in place as appropriate for public appearances.
This 19th century simplification of Formal Dress, or as it came to be known, “Semi-Formal”, became the inspiration for Ruffian collection. They chose to begin an investigation striving to reveal the DNA of men’s tailoring while further dissecting and reinterpreting the Tuxedo in various forms of undress and stark fabrications such a Patent Leather. While uncovering Deco and Edwardian modes of dress for men, they were equally fascinated with women’s fashions of the time. The use of lace, fringe, beads and softer silhouettes seems a natural counterpoint. In addition, they implored the signature “Ruff” collar technique and re-appropriated it throughout the collection in various forms- most notably in the Auden jacket and coat.
In homage to the Tuxedo’s creator , they wove a “Prince of Wales” in a larger and more graphic scale. Furthermore, considering the American aesthetic roots of the collection, they sourced all their textiles in the United States and constructed all of the collection in Us as well.
The juxtaposition of masculine and feminine, aristrocrat and rebel, punk and princess, culture and counter-culture are all building blocks integral to the creation of “Tuxedo Park”

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