So DJ Ruckus. What first attracted you to Saudi-Australian Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik? “Pretty and popular can happen by accident. Being a real woman, a winner, and a responsible and caring human being takes work,” he observes about the beauty he confesses he’s “fallen in love with for so many different reasons.” What a gent.
Two years after the 34-year-old DJ, whose real name is Gregory Andrews, proposed in an idyllic beachfront spot in the Bahamas with two rings – and a helping hand from Lenny Kravitz – the loved-up couple returned to the exact same spot for a fairy-tale Caribbean island wedding. Allow Shanina to explain...
“He’s cousins with Lenny Kravitz,” she begins, while simultaneously winning at engagement stories. “We got engaged at Christmas in the Bahamas, and Lenny helped him design one of the rings with [jeweller] Lorraine Schwartz.” Yes, you read that right. One of the rings? “He proposed with two rings,” confirms the supermodel who was raised as a Muslim in Melbourne by her Australian-Lithuanian mother and Saudi-Pakistani father. “My style is quite hippy and the other one was quite rock ’n’ roll and eccentric… like Lenny! I was really, really lucky – because Lorraine is a good friend, she did it. She doesn’t do that for anyone.”
What a lucky girl indeed! Along with her two Lorraine Schwartz rings, Shanina’s something borrowed was a beautiful pink and white diamond wreath necklace with matching earrings from the celebrity jeweller to go with her delicate lace off-the-shoulder Ralph & Russo dress.
With a long list of designers at her beck and call from walking the runways of Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney and Tom Ford to name a few, why did she choose the overtly feminine designs of Ralph & Russo for her most important dress to date we wonder? “I had to say ‘yes’ as Tamara [Ralph] and Michael [Russo] design the most stunning gowns,” reveals Shanina. “I’m lucky to have a custom dress made by them. I sent inspiration pictures, and Tamara put her twist on it and sketched a few options for me to review. From there, I selected what I liked the best, and we worked together to pick lace as well as a colour that I wanted. The whole process took around eight months, but in the end, we came up with the dress that I have always dreamed of.”
It was a match made in heaven, as we discover from designer Tamara Ralph. “Having previously walked the runway as the Ralph & Russo bride, it was only natural for us to design Shanina’s real bridal gown when the day came,” she tells Grazia. The Australian couture designer, who grew up sketching and sewing clothes for friends and family alongside her interior designer mother and couturier grandmother, has always known she wanted to create dream dresses. Now paired up with husband Michael Russo, she is the designer behind the hundred-million-dollar brand, Ralph & Russo, whose fashion expertise is in such high demand that they were invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris alongside the likes of Chanel, Dior and Valentino – one of the highest accolades by Haute-Couture standards – and a fashion feat no Australian has ever achieved before.
“With elegance, simplicity and a hint of bohemia as keywords for the ceremony, we created a classic silhouette in the finest Chantilly lace, with hand-appliquéd layers of lace flowers, embellished with 13,000 transparent crystal stones,” Tamara continues. “Our aim was to create an effortless look with the appearance of simplicity, but that on closer inspection is fraught with detail.”
The ceremony took place at The Ocean View Club on Harbour Island on a cloudy day that gave way to a double rainbow and clear-blue skies, which the usually social-media shy DJ Ruckus saw as a fitting metaphor for married life. In a moving message to his new bride, he declares, “Your morals, integrity, ambition and love for me make me so proud to be your husband. We have a task ahead of us. Glad to take on that task with you and no-one else.”
Photos: Courtesy of Ralph & Russo and Instagram