WHILE GROWING UP IN ONE OF THE LOVELIEST STRETCHES OF SOUTH AMERICA’S MOST FABLED MOUNTAIN RANGE, STEPHANIE RUIZ IMAGINED NEW WAYS OF PLAYING WITH CONTRASTS, VOLUMES, AND ASYMMETRIES

BY TIA KIM

While growing up in the Ecuadorian city of Cuenca, in that country’s southern stretch of the Andes Mountains and famed for its local handicrafts Stephanie Ruiz had an inkling as to her creative inclinations at a very early age. By her teens, she’d begun penning novel, often asymmetrical patterns for dresses. After participating in beauty pageants in pursuit of titles like Miss Peru and Miss Ecuador, she decided to pivot and embrace an entirely new venture as a designer, and an almost certainly more intellectually stimulating future. After journeying to China in order to acquire a comprehensive dressmaking education, she launched an eponymous label that embraces edgy and frequently o beat prêt à porter pieces all the way to hyper glamorous and embellished couture gowns. Response was swift, including an invitation to show at last year’s New York Fashion Week a runway presentation in collaboration with Epson Digital Couture.

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In her remarkable range of styles, one spiritual thread is a connecting force to highlight, as she puts it, “the feminine silhouette for every body shape,” with the result a gentle command to “be sophisticated, passionate, and feel attractive… be you.” Playing with contrasts, volumes, and asymmetries, she produces designs known for their elegance, to be sure, but with a daring edge seen on runways in Punta del Este, Uruguay; Asunción, Paraguay; Lima, Perú, and locations in China.

Ruiz’s latest endeavor is a line she calls “Kaleidoscope,” one that fuses fashion and technology with exclusive fabrics “inspired in feathers, earth, and stones,” among other elementals.

Dress: Stephanie Ruiz
Bracelet: Jewelry Bar
Shoes: Jimmy Choo Sandal, available at CoCo Pari
PHOTOGRAPHER Mark Oberlin
STYLIST Dion “Bleu” Drake
MAKEUP Julia Taylor, using Dior
HAIR René Cortez, using IGK Hair and Rasta Afri Hair
MODEL Alicia Ruelas, TWO MANAGEMENT and Ryan Bertroche, Next Management LA
Select garments and designer shoes available at CoCo Parì in Red Bank & Deal, cocopari.com