Globetrotter and North Carolina native Ruth Runberg is a maverick. Spending over a decade buying for Barneys New York, Saks, and most recently as the Buying Director of Browns in London, Ruth has carved out a unique (and stylish!) path to success. Most recently Ruth started a word of mouth consultancy that advises designers on brand development, communications strategy, store openings, and price optimization.
As a world traveler, Ruth?s new found freedom provides priceless opportunities to accompany her clients to their factories and studios around the globe. Spending time with the finest of handbag craftsmen in Italy and watching skilled jewelry artisans cut stones and braid 22K gold in India has been an exciting once-in-a-lifetime travel experience for Ruth. As for her own sense of style, Ruth has cultivated a worldly sophistication that suits her nomadic lifestyle.
How would you describe your style?
I love color, femininity, handwork and a touch of the bohemian.
Who, what or where is the inspiration behind your style?
I am eternally inspired by people who have a sure sense of self and take great joy in wearing what they like. Regardless of their preferred style, I respect people who dress for themselves, whose inspiration comes from within.
What is your favorite item you have ever purchased or been given while on a trip?
Either my first Alaia dress, purchased in Paris on my thirtieth birthday or the dozen hand-etched brass charger plates I lugged back from Morocco.
Where do you like to shop while traveling?
I love to discover special little shops or craftsmen when traveling. G. Lorenzi in Milan is exquisitely merchandized with every little old-school instrument a man could need, from knives to beard trimmers to pipes. All so beautifully presented! The Gem Palace, Hot Pink and Anokhi in Jaipur and Bombay Electric in Mumbai are favorites. In Paris, I always pop in D. Porthault for nightgowns and linens, Charvet for a tie for my husband, Colette and Le Bon Marche. I live in my custom sandals from Rondini in Saint-Tropez and Florentine gladiators from Francesco da Firenze. Shopping the souks of Morocco is a magical experience and I?ve come home from several trips there with rugs, tableware, caftans, lanterns and gorgeous jewelry. One of my favorite perfumes is the Anatolian rose oil I bought at a stall in the Spice Market in Istanbul. Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm is filled with amazing things for the home, especially the vibrant textiles of Josef Frank. Oh, I want to pack a bag just thinking about all these spots.
G. Lorenzi: Via Montenapoleone, 9, 20121 Milano, Italy +39 02 7602 2848. The Gem Palace: The Courtyard, S.P. Centre, 41/44 Minoo Desai Marg, Colaba, Mumbai - 400005, +91 (22) 66385484, 66385485. Hot Pink: Hotel Narain Niwas Palace, Kanota Bagh, Narain Singh Rd., (91) 141-5108-932. Anokhi: 2, Tilak Marg, Secreteriat, C Scheme, C Scheme, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302005, India, +91 141 398 7100. D. Porthault: 5-7 Rue Du Boccador, +33 (1) 84 17 27 37. Charvet: 28 Place Vend?me, 75001 Paris, France, +33 1 42 60 30 70. Colette: 213 Rue Saint Honor?, 75001 Paris, France, +33 1 55 35 33 90. Le Bon Marche: 24 Rue de S?vres, 75007 Paris, France, +33 1 44 39 80 00. Rondini: 18 Rue Georges Clemenceau 83990 Saint-Tropez, France, +33 4 94 97 19 55. Franceso da Firenze: Via Santo Spirito 6R, 50125 Firenze, 011-39-055-212428.
Where is your favorite travel destination?
That's tough. I fell in love with North Africa when I spent several weeks traveling by train through Morocco about five years ago. For many of the same reasons I love that region (warm people, warm weather, amazing spices, vibrant markets, beautiful culture), I also love India. The "more is more" aesthetic and spirit of India has me itching to go back. And, after spending so much time in Paris for work and pleasure, it will always be a special place to visit.
...And your dream destination?
I'd love to spend more time traveling through India, it's huge and I feel I've seen so little. Particularly, I'd love to visit my Kashmiri friend and see his homeland, which looks stunningly beautiful and authentic in photos.
What is your #1 travel/packing tip?
Upgrade your ticket! No, seriously, I would say to pack light and carry on when you can, as lost luggage stinks. Traveling with a nylon zippered shoulder bag folded down in your carry- on allows capacity for treasures you may find along the trip. I didn't remember to do this once and I thought I'd never make it back from Turkey with the cheap, flimsy bag I had to buy to carry my Suzani?s and bazaar treasures!