Although usually reserved for grungier labels, tonight’s car park location worked surprisingly well; the RUBY girl has some extra attitude this season – the soundtrack was worthy of the best suburban teen angst, and Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight” both opened and named the collection.
RUBY designer Deanna Didovich’s inspiration of dance showed in the motion and silhouette of the collection; not shying away from volume or shape, these clothes were made to be moved in. Sleeves were full, both bell and trumpet, as were the skirts (longer than usual for the label) hitting calf length and at their very best when mid-stride. There was a subtle touch of the Seventies, a trend that is too strong right now to be ignored; it works well with RUBY’s aesthetic, being present already in so many of their signature cuts and silhouettes – bare shoulders and flouncy ruffles were suitably nostalgic yet still classic RUBY, light and lush. Likewise the wide-legged dungarees are a sure-fire hit, with just the right dash of youthful character. Other familiar favourites appeared too, like RUBY’s signature sheer lace and blush pinks. The show’s dark patch (aesthetically) was also one of the strongest, with a surprisingly inky palette and sharper lines – a lurex wrap top was particularly covetable, with its appealing mix of simplicity and glamour.
Bucking with tradition and presenting a Spring collection was a smart move for the brand. With New Zealand Fashion Week becoming increasingly consumer driven, showing their in season range with all the gravity and fun of your usual show and embracing the powerful marketing tool that is the runway is both relevant and realistic. The pop-up store following the show was also a savvy move, letting show-goers get their hands on the collection fresh from the high of the catwalk. The RUBY aesthetic and brand is admirably strong, and warrants their loyal following; they know their customer oh-so well and know what drives her. Commercial shouldn’t be a dirty word, nor should accessibility; season after season RUBY nail both of these in the best way, and it shows in their enduring popularity. Designing clothes that women want is a strength in itself, as is harnessing a sense of fun and ease – sometimes palatable and appealing are exactly what’s called for and needed.
Words: Emma Gleason
Photos: Michael Ng/New Zealand Fashion Week