La Vie En Ruffian: The Great American Trunk Show
They’re back! Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais return from another adventure and tell us all about it in the latest edition of their La Vie en Rose column. From Los Angeles to Charlotte, the boys have been living it up!
“Trunks shows are as about as American as Apple Pie and Cotton Candy. For our dear readers who may never have been to a trunk show, it’s an opportunity for a designer to schlep their newest collection to a store in a far-away locale, meet the ladies, and sell their wares. It also gives the boutique an opportunity to experience the designer’s entire collection and to test the customer’s reaction to a particular line. All designers worth their silk have taken part in this ancient rite of passage, including the high priestess of fashion herself, Mademoiselle Coco Chanel, who visited Neiman Marcus Dallas in 1957. Ruffian’s first trunk show dates all the way back to 2007 in the glamorous cosmopolitan oasis of Little Rock, Arkansas (it was documented by Vogue!) Since the art of the trunk show has become an essential part of the Ruffian DNA, we thought we would share our latest cross-country adventure with our loving La Vie public…
First Stop: Los Angeles, C.A.
As our American Airlines flight taxied to the gate, we already had a text message from our Ruffian West Coast brand manager Dayna Zegarelli informing us that she was waiting in front of the terminal. Trunks in tow, we loaded her Audi SUV and headed straight to Satine, the location of our first trunk show. Lucy Atkin, buyer extraordinaire, hustled us into their Third Street location, where anxious Los Angelenos inspected the goods as we unloaded the trunks. The white motorcycle Jacket in rubberized cotton was a runaway hit!
That evening, we were in for a treat. Our close friends and recent L.A. transplants Carlton and Sarah DeWoody invited us out to dinner at Pace in Laurel Canyon, one of our favorite L.A. haunts. Located under the shadow of Jim Morrison’s Moorish-inspired residence, this organic, romantic Italian enclave is at once glamorous and humble (not unlike us Ruffians). In a moment of weakness and carb-induced temptation, as we were about to devour the entire basket of focaccia, an Atkins angel appeared to us as Kyle DeWoody, Grey Area impresario, Ruffian confidante, and birthday girl made a surprise appearance! Our entire NYC clan reunited in the Hollywood Hills for one night only. Many glasses of Chianti later, we bided adieu to our sweet friends and retired for the evening.
The next day was all about Holy Matrimony. Ruffian’s muse, friend and cinematic mentor actress Rose McGowan, was getting married! In true Hollywood style, the wedding was held at a secret location, later revealed as the historic Paramour Mansion, a 22,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival Estate built for silent screen star Antonio Moreno and his oil heiress wife, Daisy Canfield Danziger. The intimate affair included less than 100 guests, who were ushered in black vans to the concealed venue in the hills above Silver Lake. As we walked through a colonnade of neoclassical sculptures enswathed in roses, guests gathered in the courtyard and sipped Negronis in anticipation of the bride-to-be’s debut. Rose and Davey [Detail] exchanged their nuptials with the warm amber sunset in the distance.
Channeling Sue Mengers, our inspirational hollywood mentor, our real-life Hollywood mentor Dayna Zegarelli graciously hosted an “Oktoberfest” dinner at her Hancock Park home in our honor on Sunday evening. In addition to our beloved East Coast entourage including the dark and handsome Lorenzo Martone and blonde and beautiful Jaime Johnson, young Hollywood came out strong to support the Ruffian cause. Cameron Pilates, Garrett Clayton and Claudia Lee were definitely the life of the party. Their vitality was infectious and their sense of style was nothing but Hollywood chic! We decided to take our final day easy and spend our last West Coast moments lounging at Soho House with our friend and muse Lydia Hearst, who in addition to joining The Face is the editrix of her new site LoveLydiaHearst. With her career and life on the fast track, we are always grateful to spend quality time with her! We tried to pry some of next season’s The Face model gossip out of her, but unfortunately will not be disclosing our newly gathered intelligence in this article. Loose lips sink ships, and we don’t want to be responsible for capsizing the battleship Naomi!
Second Stop: Birmingham, Alabama
Gus Mayer is the epicenter of Southern chic. Located in The Summit (the Rodeo Drive of Birmingham) it is the cat’s meow of designer fashion. Whether you need Chanel cosmetics, a Valentino handbag, a McQueen scarf or a Ruffian taillieur, you need look no further. We arrived under the guise of twilight and the air was thick with night blossoming jasmine and gardenia. Stephanie Cockrell, our Alabamian ambassador, settled us in, arranged for our trunks to be unpacked, and took us to dinner at Bottega, where the jet set of Birmingham go to dine. Owned by Frank Sitts, the chef du jour in town, this casual gem specializes in northern Italian cuisine. The Georgian revival building that it occupies was coincidentally the original Gus Mayer in the Thirties and Forties.
With no rest in sight for the fashionably weary, the next morning Nichole Cummins, manager of the store, picked us up and brought us to the set of Good Day Alabama where we discussed the latest trends of New York Fashion Week. Never thought us Ruffian’s would be on Fox. Check it out!
The day went as quick as a wink and the ladies of Birmingham gave Ruffian lots of sweet southern love! That evening Kelly Kitchens, one of our favorite clients, invited us to drinks at Birmingham’s The Club, a mid-century modern private establishment built high on the mountain overlooking the city. Built as one man’s dream, the Fifties architecture would even make James Bond weak for a martini (shaken, not stirred). Later that evening, we indulged in another one of Birmingham’s gastronomical wonders at Hot & Hot Fish Club for some classic deep south eats. It was hard to say goodbye to Bham, but there was still one mo’ city left on our trunk show tour, so the next afternoon we drove to the airport, with one final pit-stop at Miss Myra’s Pit Bar-B-Q, to sample the legendary pulled pork with their famous white BBQ sauce!
Third Stop: Charlotte, North Carolina
Our last and final stop, Charlotte, is perhaps the most modern of all the southern cities we have been to. It is nicknamed the “Hornets Nest” because of the rebellious quality of its people during the revolution. Charlotteans, as the locals refer to themselves, have a deep and abiding sense of fashion, and the fact that the city is the headquarters of some of the world’s largest financial institutions is a credit to their pension for finery (far to many puns we know but couldn’t resist!). Sormeh Hafezi is the proprietor of Coral, the trendiest of all boutiques. The store is located in an original arts and crafts bungalow in the most tony and historic part of the community. Sormeh is a master of the mix, styling Charlotte’s PYTs in a curated selection of hard-to-get young European and American designers. Sormeh is no novice in the aesthetic game. She was trained under the watchful eye of her parents Arsalan and Arezo, the respected beauty entrepreneurs and celebrated owners of Modern Salon and Spas. It was a treat to see such a gorgeous family as dedicated as the Hafezi’s work together towards their dream. It is the foundation of what this country was built upon, and a theme that resonated on our journey from city to city. Dedication, Craft, Inspiration, and Pride.
Signing off on this Americana edition of La Vie en Ruffian.
Brian and Claude