• Fri, Feb 11 2011

What We Learned At New York Fashion Week: Ruffian

I learned the origins of the tuxedo!

The Ruffian show was inspired by 19th century Tuxedo Park, which meant a lot of men’s tailored pieces in fabrics like patent leather. Lace and beads were used as feminine counterpoints – as well as the incorporation of the signature ruff. The whole look was intended to be a juxtaposition of aristocratic and rebellious. And the jackets? The jackets were fantastic. Obviously.

Via the show’s description, we also learned that the tuxedo originated in 1886 when Prince Edward VII wanted more comfortable dinner attire. He then invited James Potter of Tuxedo Park, New York to visit him. Potter asked the Prince about what to wear, and Edward had his tailor give Potter dinner jackets made to his specifications. Upon returning home Potter wore his new jacket out to the Tuxedo Park Club, and the trend was born (though the man sitting next to me informed me that it was one of Potter’s sons, not James Potter, who first wore the jacket). That  explains why it is almost always called a tuxedo in America, and why British people sometimes sneer and say “it’s called a dinner jacket.”

So, Ruffian just solved one of the things that has confused us forever. Thanks, Ruffian!

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