Serge Ruffieux was inspired by the Arte Povera for the Carven Pre-Fall 2018 collection featuring a sturdy tailored coat with exposed threads referencing Joseph Beuys; hand-stitched X’s marking various spots on knits; skirts bordered in assorted ribbons; pattern mixing and various tactile surfaces—all these details resulted in clothes that felt directly made, so that the outcome proved a thoughtful, well-executed take on homespun.
With his third undertaking at Carven, Ruffieux’s has considerable freedom to define an identity without the pressure of historical comparison; few among us could paint a clear picture of Carven circa 1950. As it happens, between the globally inspired flourishes embedded in the footwear and the deconstructed, whimsically reassembled outerwear, reducing his direction to a few buzzwords isn’t so easy either. Even Ruffieux seems to grasp for an exact articulation. But the coexistence of folkloric, quasi–outsider art motifs populating a print and a delicate graphic dévoré velvet make for a lively randomness that jibes with Madame Carven’s interest in travel and textiles. Meanwhile, ample jeans in a Japanese cotton-wool that reveal a ticker tape logo on their upturned cuffs are every bit a product of the present.
Other nonbranded pieces—notably, the double-sided bags accented with removable charms or climbing cord—will almost surely pique people’s curiosity. As such, Ruffieux’s noticeable efforts will be more and more recognized as Carven. It’s always a good sign when clothes are conversation starters.