Image Credit: Sterling Ruby
From visual artist to fashion designer, Sterling Ruby’s S.R. STUDIO L.A. C.A. showcased its first ever Haute Couture collection, blurring the lines between the two realms. Having only started his brand in 2019 at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Ruby has become the first American to join the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris, since Ralph Rucci in 2009.
The collection, entitled “APPARITIONS,” was showcased via video format. The show took place in a paintball arena located in L.A., using the paint splatters as an obvious reference to Ruby’s work. In addition, the military prints found on the terrain reminded the designer of “the discord that has always been at the heart of US patriotism.”
Shot on the last day of Trump’s presidency, “APPARITIONS” offered an exploration of the American values and their problematic past, a common theme shared by Ruby’s longtime friend and collaborator Raf Simmons. The show saw bonnets and chiffon dresses, reminiscent of the Pilgrims and the Puritans of the defining 17th century. The show also gave us military-inspired printed suits, referring to a more modern America. Essentially, Ruby wanted to capture the patriotic history of the U.S. and how the country reached its current tension-filled political climate.
The collection’s styling looked to 20th century cinema, inspired by neo-noir films popularized in the 40s and 50s. Mainly made in his L.A. headquarters, with the only exception being the accessories made in Italy, Ruby aimed to further explore “the history of American dressing through the trajectory of Hollywood.” Indeed, this idea followed through in hair and makeup, as S.R. STUDIO L.A. C.A. “referenced a lot of stills from neo-noir movies to extend the other-worldly story we are telling.”
In addition to Kim Jones being appointed creative director for Fendi’s Haute Couture line, Sterling Ruby’s introduction to Haute Couture Fashion Week could represent a significant change in the traditionally bourgeois-reserved event. After all, Sterling offers a contemporary American point of view. Could this mean that Haute Couture is mowing from an elitist following, towards an open-to-dialogue approach? Though this change will not happen overnight, we will look forward to Sterling Ruby’s future culturally-shifting collections.
Watch the show in full below.