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NEW YORK — Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, whose Mise en Scene collection for Anthropologie was launched at an event at the Rockefeller Center flagship Thursday evening, said the apparel, hosiery and home products they designed are just the tip of the iceberg.
The duo signed a two-year contract with the retailer after a serendipitous meeting with Wendy Wurtzburger, Anthropologie’s chief merchandising officer. “It really came about because of Wendy,” Wolk said, explaining they met through mutual acquaintances after she admired one of their art installations. “We started chatting and found that we had very similar approaches in terms of how we operate and how we’re both very concept-driven,” Wolk said. “I said, ‘Ruffian is a small company that thinks like a big company,’ and Wendy said, ‘Anthropologie is a big company that thinks like a small company.’ We loved each other from the first meeting and got along famously.”
Wurtzburger gave the Ruffian designers carte blanche to design whatever they wished. Mise en Scene was inspired by Wolk and Morais’ favorite films and movie stars, such as Marlene Dietrich in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Stage Fright,” Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes’ “Opening Night,” and Bette Davis in Joseph Mankiewicz’s “All About Eve.”
The fall designs feature sophisticated fabrics such as cashmere, silk and bouclé and incorporate bespoke details such as custom metal buttons, European-inspired textiles, hand construction and architectural silhouettes, as well as Ruffian’s signature ruffles and novelty print linings. Prices are slightly higher than core Anthropologie offerings. For example, a Big Band dress is $198; four fold skirt, $168; quilted velvet jacket, $188, and dress coat, $348.
At the event, a gallery installation by Wolk, Morais and their frequent collaborator, set designer Ann Koch, was a set piece: a starlet’s theater dressing room where the Mise en Scene home products fit in naturally, from the dégradé martini and Champagne glasses to fragrances and scented candles with names like Intermission and Dressing Room.
“We’re going to be doing this for many years,” Wolk said. “This is just the beginning. We’ll be doing sheets, pillows, duvet covers and furniture for spring. There will be lots more dresses. We’ll be expanding the scope of the line. We’re interested in accessories and jewelry. We can have a full lifestyle collection.”