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Hello

Let's go inside some of the industry's greatest closets off the runway and off camera.  Everything on this site is handpainted by the author. Follow me on Instagram @theclosetinterview and @annthaden.

Avastavé

Avastavé

Today I’m meeting Dmitri Ruwan, the amazing talent behind the pret-a- couture label Avastavé at the Friends Avenue Café in Dubai.  Dmitri's phenomenal shoe closet and affinity for sparkle and faux fur are just a few things we have in common.  What makes Dmitri such a unique person in the industry is his incredibly encouraging and upbeat perspective that bring so much joy to his fashion forward followers.  Follow Dmitri @Avastavé and @dmi89 and be sure to check out his blog  Life & Other Stories and shop his gorgeous Avastavé designs here.  

 

 Photo courtesy of Dmitri Ruwan wearing Gucci loafers and H & M distressed jeans. 

Photo courtesy of Dmitri Ruwan wearing Gucci loafers and H & M distressed jeans. 

Hello, It’s Ann.  It’s great to see you Dmitri.  Can I interview your closet?  Most certainly! 

What’s your favorite T-Shirt? Where and why did you buy it?  The classic Givenchy men’s T-shirt in black with a Cuban fit. It works with everything because anyone and everyone in fashion knows it’s a luxury item, so sometimes when I feel like dressing a little casual I’ll throw it on with a pair of sweats and leather sandals, big shades and walk out. I purchased it after a bit of saving from Bloomingdales, Dubai.

 The three story Bloomingdales in Dubai.

The three story Bloomingdales in Dubai.

Are you a sweater person or a sweatshirt person?  Sweater- definitely! I think a classic sweater works for everything whether you’re lounging at home, hitting the mall, meeting friends for coffee or even dinner actually, although that last one might differ slightly based on the venue. Gucci makes some great ones.

What did you wear on your last date?  I never dress to impress people, I dress for me. Sometimes when I’m faced with a situation such as a date where I know it’s some ones first impression of me, I tend to go the opposite route and dress a little more casual. Though my casual in most instances might be a ripped H&M denim jacket, white t-shirt, ripped jeans and Louboutin loafers – which is precisely what I wore! On another occasion I wore a gargantuan white fur on my shoulders atop a red blazer paired with ripped jeans! ( laughs)
 

 Distressed denim  jeans available at H & M.   

Distressed denim jeans available at H & M.  

How did the date go? What did you do?  Drinks and a movie actually, I don’t put too much stock in meeting a significant other, I believe in good people and good friends and for where I am at in my life right now, that’s just fine.

What do you like to drink while getting ready for a night out?  I am a big fan of Sri Lankan milk tea (50 calories in case you’re wondering) so I’ll usually drink two-three cups and always one at 6:00pm. However, if I know I’m going out for drinks with friends a glass of champagne Moet Chandon Imperial Rose in pink is my usual go to.

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What music do you listen to while getting ready for a night out?  Artists like Khalid, Hassan Tiny Shams and Brooke Candy; a mix of contemporary R&B and Pop. I do play classics musical compositions like Offenbach – Barcarolle from ‘The Tales of Hoffman’, but typically just before bed as it’s therapeutic. Though as far as turning up the party goes, no one does it like Nicki Minaj.

Where was the last place you traveled to?  Goa, India for a friend’s wedding. The architecture of the old-world churches mixed with the wonderful beaches and incredibly friendly people made it the ultimate holiday. 

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What was the most important thing you packed?  It’s not like my shoe collection is made of Louboutins but, the one thing you need to be sure to have is a killer pair of dress shoes – especially for a wedding. I personally like my simple leather loafers with signature C.L studs around the outer rim of the shoe and for more of a statement, the Dandelion Flats with studs all over in sea blue. When travelling, two pair of shoes are always needed, the kind you walk everywhere in and the kind you reserve for special nights out.

 Louboutin Casano Flats.  Shop the look in  The Finds!

Louboutin Casano Flats.  Shop the look in The Finds!

What was the most non-essential thing you shouldn’t have packed but packed anyway?  A giant baby pink faux-fur coat by ZARA, it was in the women’s section but I believe in genderless style. If it looks good I wear it, no socially enforced idea of masculinity is going to stand in my way. Plus, in this day and age of Instagram moments, a pink faux fur is a serious #MOMENT.

What rules if any did you have about getting dressed when you were young?   I think when you’re younger you believe you have a specific look, but in reality you’re not quite there. At least that was the case in my instance. I was very much into gothic rock, Night Wish, a bit of Flyleaf and what not, so there was a phase of black nail polish and hot pink wrist bands ( shudder) but I think regardless of age you need to have fun with the way you dress. As you grow older society tells you that you simply can’t wear certain things, and I agree to a certain degree, if it doesn’t look good it just doesn’t! But then again…what if it does? People who have stood out for their unique style like Iris Apfel, David Bowie and Luisa Marchesa Casati, these are people that defied the norms and in doing so inspired countless others.

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What is the first item of clothing you bought with your own money?  A Valentino coat; it might sound ridiculous but if it weren’t for the masses of online stores and outlet malls we have at our disposal ordinary fashion people like me wouldn’t be able to truly participate in the spectacle that is high-fashion. So, when I saw this particular camel coat at a local outlet mall, I jumped on it! Nobody else was going to get this! And even though I had to battle a rude sales clerk and was counting pennies for two months it was totally worth it!


What is the biggest splurge or investment piece you purchased?  A Christian Dior pearl necklace for my mum, as a little thank you for everything she has done for me and my sister. Designer jewelry is always a great investment especially pearl necklaces that have a timeless appeal.
 

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Do you feel the investment has been worthwhile?  It made my mum happy because it was her first bit of Dior, so yes, I’d like to think so. 

What is your favorite fashion bargain? How much do you wear it?  The Gucci Jordaan leather loafer was worth every bit of my money. I use to take the metro to work, and working at a high fashion publication meant always looking your best. Walking across everything from cobblestone to dusty pavements and tiled grounds, these loafers are the perfect example of what a luxury product should be; style & function. A custom-made suit jacket from my brand Avastave, has also withstood the test of time, nothing says refinement like a well-tailored dinner jacket. 
 

 Avastavé jacket.  For information and orders contact information  available here.

Avastavé jacket.  For information and orders contact information available here.

Who was your style icon as a youngster?  I’m a late eighties- early nineties kid, and although everything retro is back in fashion now, at the time the street style clothes weren’t all that nice in my opinion, however I always found the work of designers like McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano the perfect inspiration and bloggers like Bryan Boy, who would wear tutus and skinny jeans while getting their Starbucks were a god-send in breaking the mold!


Who is one of your style icons now?  I don’t have a single source of inspiration for style so I can’t really say that there is one particular person that inspires me on the daily. I find people who stay true to their aesthetic inspiring because they dress for themselves. Today, its all become so commercial, but thankfully Instagram is packed with up and coming creatives who provide me with style inspiration on the daily. I adore Adam Gallagher of @IAMGALLA and style gurus like Aimee Song of @songofstyle. 

What do you wear when you work out?   I did throw on a black and white faux fur new look coat on top of a Zara cotton t-shirt paired with Adidas running shorts once..naturally a faux fur isn’t meant to be worked out in. But on normal days I’m in H&M cotton jersey shorts, classic Adidas track jackets + trainers and plain black t-shirts.

 Photo courtesy of Dmitri Ruwan.

Photo courtesy of Dmitri Ruwan.

What do you wear when you work out?   I did throw on a black and white faux fur new look coat on top of a Zara cotton t-shirt paired with Adidas running shorts once..naturally a faux fur isn’t meant to be worked out in. But on normal days I’m in H&M cotton jersey shorts, classic Adidas track jackets + trainers and plain black t-shirts.

What do you wear to the grocery store?  I can’t say I’m very concerned all the time, but I always buy things that I can wear to the mall or while I’m at home; pieces like denim jackets, chinos shorts and trousers in track-style are all wearable and part of my average grocery run. I did buy a crown from Claires before heading to the grocery once; it was hilarious to watch people’s expression as I walked by all the fruits and vegetables like some self-ordained mall royal. 

What shoes do you wear when the weather is bad?  I ruined a beautiful pair of shoes once because it started raining, so after that I’m a bit more cautious with what I wear. Typically my Adidas Ultraboost All Terrain shoes that are great for a variety of purposes from a super cardio session to airport travel and coffee meetups with friends.

 

 Gucci Slippers.  Shop the look in  The Finds!

Gucci Slippers.  Shop the look in The Finds!

What shoes do you wear when you want to show off?  I think we already know the answer to this question, but my Christian Louboutin Dandelion Spikes Flat in sea blue makes for a show stoppings statement, I’m also obsessed with Gucci’s velvet evening slippers in light pink complete with snake embroidery its always available in poison green !!)

What do you wish you had in your closet but don’t have?  The feather coat from the 2014 Chanel pre-fall collection (Look 40) and Look 23 from Alexander McQueen’s springs/summer 17 menswear collection, a tail coat with gold thread embroidery. You can never have too much of Chanel or McQueen, and since I currently don’t have clothing from either, that’s my ultimate goal. I’m also working on getting a custom made  Avastavémen’s jacket in there..

  Avastavé jacket.  For information and orders contact information  available here.

 Avastavé jacket.  For information and orders contact information available here.

What do you have in your closet that you should throw away but still haven’t?   A pair of Abercrombie & Fitch pajamas that I still wear, which were given to me by a good friend when we ended up randomly jumping in her pool and I got my clothes wet! The colours faded but it has so much memory I can’t seem to get rid of it.

What’s in your closet that you inherited from another person and still like to wear?   My father’s vintage Christian Dior hand-painted silk men’s tie. It’s strange because growing up neither of my parents were really decked out in designer things so the fact that he had this one beautiful Dior tie which I found in his tie collection years later was almost cosmic. I’m not much of a tie person, but on the rare occasion that I require one this one always does the trick. 

What is the best piece of clothing or accessory that someone else bought for you? My Gucci loafers.
 

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Do you wear a fragrance?  I bathe myself in so much perfume I forget that it isn’t deodorant! I use Chanel Misia in 200ml bottle for my apartment and on myself, while a few must-have fragrances that I typically buy every six months or so are Yves Saint Laurent’s L’Homme and Versace Pink Diamond. I believe fragrances cannot be segregated to men or women; some men like roses and shouldn’t be told they can’t smell like them!

 Embroidered Kentg & Curwen Rose T Shirt.  Shop the look in  The Finds!

Embroidered Kentg & Curwen Rose T Shirt.  Shop the look in The Finds!

Thanks for letting me interview your closet Dmitri.  I’m glad I got to know you better too.  Now would you mind if I borrowed your faux fur jacket from Zara? 

Putting on the St. Regis

Putting on the St. Regis

Kris Joy

Kris Joy