Cristina Ruales Redefines Female Empowerment
By Anna Spiewak, Contributing Fashion Editor
The Brooklyn-based fashion designer is a strong believer in female empowerment and individuality and the proof is in the pudding—mainly her third show during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week.
Guests who attended the event at INGLOT studio (major cosmetics manufacturer out of Poland) inside Chelsea Market, NYC—found her show anything but usual.
Instead, one felt transformed to a dance performance as ballerinas entered the center of the room on their tippy toes clad in Cristina Ruales’ latest designs, inspired by the “brush stroke,” making robotic moves to the tune of not classical ballet—but rather late David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.” Each model wore a loose-fitting, white cotton piece (dress or top and pant set) with hints of black brush strokes, black paint on one eye and artificial black bangs attached to their own hair. The theme was black and white asymmetry.
“It was unlike anything that I’ve ever seen—with the ballerinas. It was more like a routine than a fashion show,” said thirty-something attendee and fashion aficionado Kevin Harju, of New Jersey.
The Ecuadorian-born fashion designer—the first Latina to graduate from Yale School of Drama in the Design master’s program— is not afraid of breaking barriers when it comes to fashion.
“I wanted the event to be interactive, fun and to move people,” Ruales told Marketing Fashionista in an exclusive interview. “I am committed to the idea of cross pollinating with other artists and I am obsessed with ballerinas on Pointe. I wanted a feminist agenda or message of empowerment to exist so I invited Girls Inc. to use the time and venue to promote their female empowerment agenda.”
The mother of two used to dance for nine years and liked the idea of breaking away from the typical fashion model. She chose this type of artistic expression to make a statement about changes in NYFW. Ruales also wanted to make print the major focus of her collection and show it in a distinctly graphic way. The collection was inspired by clean lines, a touch of whimsy this season and focusing on the architecture of clothing, according to the press release.
“My inspiration (the ‘brush stroke’) was originally inspired by Gherard Richter and painted in-house, along with the idea of adding feminine and sexy to the collection, after being told my collection wasn’t feminine enough,” Ruales told MF. “I feel it’s a sad day when buyers become the visionaries and this causes all fashion lines to blur and look similar, which is often the case today. I also don’t like being told what is and isn’t feminine, so I wanted to show that my collection indeed is feminine but I will define it on my own terms and much like I ask others to do—I too must celebrate my individuality.”
What made this season different from her two previous ones was that Ruales used this show to launch her #INSEASON e-commerce website in order to involve more customers in her show, also a rarity for fashion events, which usually keep the guest list exclusive to just the press and the buyers.
Ruales kept this season on a smaller scale, showcasing just eight looks at the show, calling it a capsule collection, and selling 22 pieces to retailers. She’s also exploring the idea of becoming season-less and adjusting her shop dates to global warming.
“I hate that we ship Fall in July when it’s still 100 degrees outside for two months. So by the time the customer even tries the fall pieces, they’re already 50 percent off—it doesn’t make for good business,” she added. “We all need to innovate and adapt to the internet and the weather and how we shop and dress today.”
She added two key dresses to this collection that veer off from her Trapeze loose fitting, triangle dress that’s her signature look and, again, emphasized her own interpretation of what’s feminine and sexy.
“I am fighting against what we tell people is sexy today and I am trying to send the message that we can be feminine and sexy in a more empowering way where we may not need to expose every inch of our bodies and we may not always need to be squeezed into a dress,” Ruales concluded. “I just want to keep growing my ideas and adjusting to what we need to change, innovate and use during fashion week to promote in season and use PR to directly affect sales and grow my message and brand identity (Nature vs. Architecture).”
For more information on the designer’s collection go to www.cristinaruales.com