By Vanessa Voigt
POSTED September 10, 2011
Ruffian Haphazardly Attempts To Create Sporty Elegance
Inspired by horse races at Saratoga Springs, Ruffian ineffectively tried to forge elegance with sportswear by way of contradicting visual elements and uninspiring color combinations. They
did win, however, with a select few standouts - proof positive that great design can still spring from this duo.

Brian Wolk and Claude Morais were off to the races in jockey jersey stripes, sometimes found stacked up the arm, or simply slashed diagonally across the chest on dress tops and
swimwear. The stripe asserted no boundaries as to where it belonged, or concern for how its color may mesh with the garment. A bright, yet delicate magenta evening dress was given
long, heavy sleeves of stacked black and white. The structures two strikingly different aesthetics left the viewer wondering, ‘Wear? But to where?’ They did try and create some visual interest
by repeatedly pairing satin sheen with a matte finish, furthering the theme of sportswear and elegance.

The saddle shoes worn by gentlemen to the races inspired a few suit dresses that had a bit more kick, with one piece sporting a black bow-tie like collar and an asymmetrical sleeve off the
shoulder. The sheer paneling lined in black, was the kind of treatment more of
Ruffian’s clothes needed.  

Although the designers’ combo of red and pink in an array of evening dresses won’t wear well with everyone, but they at least offered the color enticement and energy that most of their
simple, ordain color schemes failed to accomplish. The winning piece was an exuberant metallic cobalt mini, that almost appeared to be made of horse hair, with textured threading and
shine. The designer duo, of course, kept it simple with a plain black top.

This collection teaches that it is great to be inspired, but application for design does not need to be so literal. Just because a jockey’s jersey has heavy white and black striped sleeves does
not mean the concept will work by simply adding it to an evening gown. There were a few gems that prove Wolk and Morais have it in them, so maybe for next year’s fashion’s race, they will
tap into their talent and inspiration for a strong comeback.