Designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais are still in the honeymoon phase of their Los Angeles love affair. Inspired by their recent move from New York, the Ruffian designers will launch a new line called Wolk Morais on April 13, which marks the one-year anniversary of their arrival in Hollywood. Focused on the pre-seasons rather than spring and fall, the line will offer a dressier take that Wolk calls “luxury sportswear with evening elements” meant to be worn year-round. It will be shown in October and April annually. All pieces are sourced and produced in Los Angeles and will retail between $795 and $4,995.
This story first appeared in the April 3, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“When we moved here there was a dramatic climate change in our native New York and it gave us a new perspective on the way women dress. The pre-seasons make the most sense because they have the longest shelf life and been most financially successful for our retailers.”
The duo says they moved West to have creative freedom outside of the traditional New York fashion system, and showed Ruffian’s spring 2015 collection at Gavlak Gallery in Hollywood. This time, they’ll debut Wolk Morais at Kohn Gallery, fitting because it was the minimalist West Coast painters known as the “Cool School” who inspired the collection. “Like painters, we work on various canvases simultaneously. We find the gallery scene really inspiring and the city has a wonderful art scene that has really migrated out here. That freshness, and the youth culture really inspired this line,” Wolk said. Morais described the line as “youth couture. It’s unfussy and useful, very appropriate for a young modern woman.”
Unlike many of their contemporaries, the designers are inspired less by street and activewear and more by Old Hollywood designers like Adrian and Norman Norell. “We saw a need for luxury sportswear and what better place to flex a new muscle? Women here aren’t afraid of color so you’ll see that as well,” Wolk said. “We’re also starting to dress a whole new world of celebrity that we’ve never explored before.”
The designers worked with stylist Elizabeth Stewart on the collection, and count Stewart’s daughter, Ivy Bragin, as one of their muses. They also just dressed one of Stewart’s star clients, Jessica Chastain. “We live in a world of Instagram where news comes out quickly, and we wanted to ensure we were 100 percent ready with this line,” said Wolk of the short-lead announcement, “But we’re still about two weeks ahead of resort season.” As for Ruffian, the designers said they haven’t decided where to show the spring 2016 collection come September.