Designer Deanna Didovich from Ruby. Image supplied.
Ruby has gone from strength to strength over the years and it’s a credit to designer Deanna Didovich and her dedicated team who have a gift for creating collections that are of the moment and instantly covetable. Deanna first stepped into the role of designer at Ruby in 2008 and has evolved the label from its original look which had a streetwear feel into an elegant, romantic brand that has retained its quirky cool.
“It’s naturally matured to a degree probably because I have and my design has,” says Deanna. “I think the essence has pretty much always been the same but I think the designs are getting better as time goes by. The fabrics are getting better and the selections are getting better but I think in essence she still loves colour, she loves a ruffle, she loves a mini skirt, those quintessential Ruby things are all still there.”
One of the most exciting parts of deciding the creative direction of a brand is the ability to try new things, collaborate and engage different customers. 2016 was a big year for Deanna and Ruby trying something new with the release of their successful sleepwear collection called “Quiet Please” in October which was a collaboration with Adam Hale of The Daily Splice who is known for his creative take on collage art. Deanna discovered Adam through Instagram and loved what he did and got in touch to see if he was keen to collaborate. She had been thinking about branching out for a while and her original concept was to create a selection of silk pieces, which was also influenced by the strong trend for bias cut slips. However, it was while working with Adam Hale on the artwork for the beautiful Ruby diary for 2017 that Deanna toyed with the idea of translating the exclusive floral print onto fabric and the collection came together with the print as the focal point.
“I just wanted to work on something different and then sleepwear just kind of came into my mind for no particular reason and it started to interest me,” says Deanna. “But not traditional sleepwear, as in pyjamas that you put on and then go to sleep in, but more of a sleepover, sleepwear crossover with everyday clothing. What we eventually did launch is a combination of every single piece you could wear to bed but also you could literally leave the house wearing it and that’s what I loved. I also loved the concept of being able to wake up in the morning and throwing something fresh on but you still feel really relaxed and that kind of translated into the fabrics. So we’ve got a really beautiful cotton shirt and then these really silky Japanese acetates that look so cool with heels and then there’s a beautiful silk story.”
Looks from Ruby’s Quiet Please sleepwear collection.
The new sleepwear was instantly well-received with Ruby fans snapping up the easy to wear pieces, especially in the floral print which has also been well received on their gorgeous diary. The success of Quiet Please has Deanna thinking about another sleepwear collection for next year which she is starting to work on already alongside her other Ruby collections. Her latest range for Resort 2016 was recently released in time for the summer break and is full of sublime pieces that the Ruby girl will enjoy taking on holiday.
Like many designers Deanna is tasked with delivering several collections a year with Ruby adapting their business model to deliver smaller collections more frequently so there is always something new in store to entice their customers. For Deanna it means needing to find inspiration more often and she regularly looks online or to magazines to start generating ideas. “I don’t actually like to be over consumed by inspiration though,” adds Deanna. “I love following the shows during fashion week but it definitely gets to a point and I’m like no more, enough, I don’t need any more visual information, because I just find it really confusing and really distracts me from what I’m trying to do. Often I’ll just have one small idea and then I’ll find the inspiration for that and then I’ll kind of just roll from there and I’ll specifically look at inspiration for that specific thing. When I did a pre-fall collection earlier this year it was loosely inspired by Croatian folklore and I had that idea to do that so I specifically looked down those avenues of inspiration. Sometimes I find I can put a collection together without anything, and that’s what happened with sleepwear, it was such a simple process in terms of everything and it just all fell into place, I was inspired by that concept rather than by a thing or a place. Sometimes it’s just a little thing for me rather than a whole big story.”
As well as finding inspiration on social media Deanna and her team have been using it to gauge their customer’s interest in different products and collections, teasing out new ranges to see how the brand’s fans respond and what translates into sales. It’s an ever evolving exercise used by many fashion labels and has seen Ruby develop a successful social media presence which backs up the youthful charm of the brand. By the time the new collections hit stores they’ve already created a demand for them and it’s not uncommon for hot pieces to sell out quickly. Being a small operation means popular styles can often be re-cut to meet demand especially pieces like the Marina gown from their recent spring 2016 collection which was an instant success and was also worn by international model Rosie Huntington Whiteley and showcased on her Instagram leading to even higher demand for the dress.
Getting to design her own wardrobe every collection means Deanna unsurprisingly often has favourite pieces although she is enamoured with the whole sleepwear collection and cites it as her current favourite range. With her laidback nature it’s easy to how her personal style influences the Ruby brand and that the lines are typically a bit blurred when it comes to Deanna’s style and Ruby’s style. “I wear Ruby every day so it’s just a natural type of connection you know, I don’t even know how it translates because it is what it is,” says Deanna. “My style is what I design which is awesome and I’m very appreciative that that is the case. I’m head to toe in Ruby now but obviously I have some other pieces in my wardrobe but I’m not a big shopper. I’m the kind of person that will see something I love and I will directly go and find that.”
Looks from Ruby’s Resort 2016 collection.
Much like Ruby has evolved as Deanna has grown up, she sees the brand continuing to grow and change, although she’s committed to Ruby for the long haul and looks forward to developing it further. “I’m lucky to have a beautiful wardrobe every day, and I don’t see myself not wearing Ruby for a long time,” adds Deanna. “I’m kind of like ‘How long can I wear this brand for?’ but the reality is I’m going to be wearing Ruby for a very long time.”
Something tells us Ruby’s many fans will be very glad to hear that.