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15 minutes with Ruffian designers Claude Morais and Brian Wolk
The directional beauty looks of Ruffian have had people taking over the blogosphere—and, more recently, jamming Twitter feeds—since Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the brand’s New York-based design duo, first paired up in 2004. “Beauty is essential to realizing our vision,” says Wolk, when we meet at Toronto’s Ritz-Carlton for the
debut of their fall/winter collection. “The right makeup and nails are what finish the look,” adds Morais. The secret to the models’ half-moon “Ruffian manicures,” however, isn’t a team of backstage nail-art elves. (I know; I was disappointed too.) “Obviously we can’t do 30 manicures backstage, so we use appliqués,” explains Morais. After the show, the designers caught models leaving with the nail appliqués they had worn on the runway. “Girls were sneaking away with them still on,” says Morais. “We knew we had something.” The stroke of genius to which he is referring is their new limited-edition collaboration—which includes three sets of faux nails and three coordinating lipstick shades—with M.A.C Cosmetics. The designers’ passion for
intricate manicures is contagious. “They’re like spectator shoes for nails!” enthuses Wolk, as he applies a prepster appliqué to my finger. But, he warns, steer clear of the “dirty words ‘press-on.’” “Stick-on nails can be tacky, but these won’t pop off when you’re digging in your purse,” says Morais. “These are a luxury accessory.”