The story of Charo Ruiz, a free-spirited model turned designer.
Perhaps for the less fashion-savvy amongst us, when you are asked to think about images of Spanish clothing, it’s hard not to fall into the trap of stereotyping from days of yore with thoughts of black ruffled Bull-fighting costumes and voluminous bright red Flamenco dresses complete with co-ordinating polka dot accessories (as clichéd on the obligatory holiday postcard to home.)
Although those images are ingrained and quite rightly have a valid place within the heritage of Spanish culture, thankfully times have moved on. The late Swinging Sixties and early 1970s saw the Ibiza cultural scene being kick-started with an influx of tourism and ´alternative life seekers´ who flocked to the island with the hope of enjoying its warmer climes, and ´devil may care´ attitudes to clothing; which helped give birth to the Hippy Chic (now Boho Chic) culture and correspondingly kick-starting a new breed of fashion as we know it.
¨The Seville born couturier settled in Ibiza with the intention that her designs would reflect the overwhelming joy of the islands cosmopolitan atmosphere, its purity of lifestyle and quality of light; factors which she would aim to instil into each and every piece of clothing bearing her name.¨ – Charles Daniel McDonald
Over the past several decades, notable luminaries from the celebrity circuit such as Anita Pallenberg, Jane Birkin and their up to date contemporaries – the likes of Paris Hilton and Kate Moss, to name but a few, have graced the island of Ibiza as part of their grand vacation tours; with each one of them giving their fashion spin on some of the most basic but beautiful dresses that reflect the perception of Ibiza, as possessing a relaxed and bohemian lifestyle and allowing an association with a timeless sense of cool that matches it’s maritime climate.
With the fashion history lesson over, we are taken to the present-day on the White Isle and its timeless aesthetic, thanks to Charo Ruiz. The free-spirited model turned designer who has been omnisciently channelling Ibicencan street style since 1989 when the Seville born couturier settled here with the intention that her designs would reflect the overwhelming joy of Ibiza’s cosmopolitan atmosphere, the lifestyle purity and quality of the island’s light, air and water which she would aim to personify into everything she created here.
¨ I always believe that our dresses should have a sense of timelessness that reflects the easy-going nature of the island as well as reflecting their owners and being feminine and flattering in all the right places.
Each and every garment has handcrafted embellishments of locally produced lace which we add into our manufacturing process within the island. ¨ – Charo Ruiz
So, from a sartorial standpoint, just what is it then that every Ibizan dress should attribute to, in order to hallmark it with that special ´it´ value – one which invokes brand loyalty and a guaranteed repeat, seasonal business? Well, according to the Ruiz family, ¨the dress should be very comfortable with fabrics that are soft to the touch. The dress should also be of top quality with love and care reflected within its construction. It should have a sense of timelessness that reflects the easy-going nature of the island. It should reflect its owner and be feminine and flattering in all the right places. It should have handcrafted embellishments of locally produced lace, and most importantly, it should be made in Ibiza¨ we believe, all in this order.
Indeed, there may be many imitators out there, but the stalwart Charo Ruiz fans realise the unique aspiration of the brand and the love and care of each product they are buying. So, no matter what season the dresses are acquired in, they will always be suitable for wear on their home turf, reflecting the ´native´ homeland of their inception and this is an association that the faithful are happy to pay for with the frequency of the Ibizan tides.
Author – Charles Daniel McDonald for Revive Magazine
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