Making their debut on-schedule during London Fashion Week might be a little nerve-racking for some, not Olivia Rubin, who brought her cheery, rainbow-inspired colours and feminine silhouette to the British Fashion Council’s Discovery Lab to showcase her spring/summer 2020 collection.
Rubin, a graduate from Central Saint Martin’s College in London, who has worked with Alexander McQueen and John Galliano during his time at Dior, has become renowned for her penchant of colourful hues and eye-catching rainbow prints which adorn her womenswear collections. While she may have taken a break to focus on her family, her revived brand is going from strength-to-strength, with reports suggesting that the brand turnover will hit 1 million pounds this year.
Walking into Rubin’s presentation, editors and buyers were greeted by an ice-cream parlour with a party atmosphere, this was a fashion week showcase for the Instagram-age, candy colours, fun props and beautiful feminine silhouettes. It was a homage to her beloved best-selling dresses and brightly coloured prints, while also establishing herself as a contemporary designer of the Instagram-age.
Rubin perfectly captures joy and modern femininity with what she calls “happy fashion,” and she certainly brought a smile to London Fashion Week with her Neapolitan sequin stripes, ice lolly inspired silk ombre, vintage floral china prints, colourful polka dots and guipure lace seen across long sleeve shirt dresses, tiered maxi dresses, oversized rainbow cardigans, and wrap-style floor-length gowns.
“It all started with a vintage 70s ice-cream van called Daisy that I stumbled upon at a May Day fair,” explained Olivia Rubin about the inspiration behind her SS20 collection to FashionUnited following the presentation. “Experimenting with ice-cream tones combined with 70s silhouettes and hints of 80s were key to building the collection and drawing upon references to the vintage crockery inside the van and crochet inspired laces.
Rubin added: “We tried to get the ice cream van into the venue but when that wasn’t an option, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with something even more fun.
“The idea of the models interacting with the props and sets was always going to be the core of the presentation, nothing too serious - a collection that brings a smile to peoples faces.”
Highlights from Rubin’s spring/summer collection included the uncharacteristically uncolourful black flared sleeveless gown, well that was until the model turned around and showed the back covered from head-to-toe in colourful bold bows, while the 70’s inspired guipure lace was seen on mini and midi dresses adding a vintage touch to the collection alongside the ditsy romantic floral print. But of course, it was Rubin’s signature sequin stripes that stole the show, which were given a muted pastel sherbet feel for spring across a variety of dress styles including a wrap-style sleeveless maxi dress and a long-sleeve midi, as well as a sassy short dress with voluminous sleeves.
What was evident from Rubin’s presentation was that it was much more than just a showcasing of her rainbow hues, this was a lifestyle, every last detailed considered from her ice-cream parlour set, right down to the models energy her brother DJing, and the pretty-let-rebellious colour pop make-up and pastel rainbow manicure using bespoke nail polishes.
Rubin worked with vegan and cruelty-free Peacci nail polishes to create the ultimate Olivia Rubin manicure, where ice-cream toned pastels were combined to create a unique multi-coloured manicure using five specially created polishes, with one colour on each nail to create a rainbow effect.
Helena Marimon, Peacci brand resident nail technician and creator of the Olivia Rubin bespoke pastel rainbow manicure explained to FashionUnited: “I created the colours used for this manicure specifically to compliment the tones used across Olivia’s look-books and mood-boards. As a backstage nail technician, it’s really exciting when the designer opts for a more colourful look, as often designers will stay safe with nudes or sheer finishes.”
The nails were complemented with pastel pop painted eyes using Charlotte Tilbury by make-up artist Sofia Tilbury, niece to Charlotte, who explained the idea was “all about experimenting with colour and having fun” to showcase the modern, fresh and colourful silhouettes of Rubin’s collection.
Tilbury added: “This look is naturally fresh, glossy and pretty with a little bit of a rebellious side! The skin is dewy with a glow, a fresh but polished complexion and 80s style blush for youthful-looking, rosy-pink cheeks.
“For the pastel pop painted eye, I took inspiration from the brilliant, beautiful colours in the collection - it’s all about creating shapes on the eyes, using blocks of colour, softly blurred and blended, not too defined. The lips were kept natural-looking and balmy with a soft pink stain.”
After a successful LFW presentation, which Rubin stated was a “surreal, pinch-me moment,” we asked what’s next for the emerging designer brand, and apparently it is all about pushing forward and developing her eponymous label it into a global lifestyle brand.
Rubin, added: “I’ve just launched a homeware and living collection with Etsy and we are already working on the next range. I also have a few other exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m just focusing on continuing to keep the steady growth of the brand evolving around the world.”
The Olivia Rubin x Etsy collection, launched earlier this month, and is billed as the designer’s first “fashion-meets-interiors” collection and features her unique use of ombre pastel shades and rainbow hues across cushions, lamps, stationery, Christmas cards, placemats, as well as candles, which have been designed with seven hand-picked Etsy sellers.
This isn’t Rubin’s first collaboration with a brand, previously the designer has worked with Asos, Very.co.uk, My-wardrobe.com, The Dune Group and has her own range with Dorothy Perkins that was successfully sold worldwide.
Presentation images: courtesy of Olivia Rubin by Paul Whitfield / Nail images: courtesy of Peacci