My first encounter with Rubin & Chapelle occurred during fashion week of the Fall 2013 season–and what a magical occurrence it was. Perhaps it was the fact that the label’s intimate presentation served as one of my first “fashion show” experiences, but more likely, it was because all the expectations I attached to this girlish fantasy of an event were met. The models were as beautiful and the audience was as renowned as I had imagined them to be. And the clothes–the clothes were something else. They carried the high fashion appeal–the glamour, luxury and elegance. There it was, the gown every girl dreamed of having an opportunity to wear.
Forward to Spring 2014, for which the collection was previewed to the press on November 5, and Rubin & Chapelle ceases to create magical occurrences. Inspired by a maritime theme denoted as “Nautical Current”, the collection features familiar ideas such as navy, stripes and breezy silhouettes. But just when you think you’ve seen it all before, you’re thrown a curveball. In fact, nothing about the garments is simply straightforward. What appears to be a standard striped silk midi dress is un-standardized with sun ray pleating that fools the eye by creating a whole new pattern. What seems like an elongated printed tuxedo jacket turns out to double as a one-piece romper. How to dress a modern woman? This seems to be the question asked when the designers took to the drawing board. The answer, as the collection reflected, was with a refreshing dash of cleverness.
While the ideas themselves take steps far out of the box, Rubin & Chapelle executed the designs with classic tailoring that accredits the collection with a sense of timeless sophistication. A modern woman, after all, is as classy as she is clever. Feminine drapery cascade effortlessly down light-as-air silk dresses featuring bare backs, the fabric having been delicately dissected and peeled apart to expose the flesh. Elastic hemlines create a tubular silhouette that is simultaneously loose and curve-hugging, making for an undeniably sexy paradox.
The result of this contrast between the new and the old, the unfamiliar and the familiar, is a collection that is comfortable yet put together, practical yet special. The prime example? A silk patterned robe that’s ideal for lazy lounging. But cinch a belt around it, as the label did for its spring 2014 presentation, and it transforms into a chic cocktail dress in a luxurious fabric featuring a plunging neckline. As this collection clearly proves, the Rubin & Chapelle woman is as versatile as the clothes she puts on her back. Smart and graceful, she’s perhaps the woman we all strive to be.
Marina Zheng is the deputy features editor. Email her at email@example.com.