|Photo: Laurel Marcus|
It’s been a year and a half since his last runway show, but Ralph Rucci, who left the eponymous label he founded in 1994 (which goes on without him) has not exactly been idling the time away. He’s been quietly creating made-to-order for a loyal clientele who seeks out the meticulous attention to detail and superb craftsmanship that have come to define his work.
|Photo: Marilyn Kirschner|
Last evening, Ralph staged a fashion week comeback, with the launch of his new made-to-order collection, RR33. The 7 p.m. presentation was held at the Mercantile Annex on West 27th Street and let’s just say it was heaven on earth in Hell’s Kitchen. The stark, all white, high ceiling’d gallery space could not have been a more perfect setting for his collection, played out almost entirely in black save for a smattering of ivory and nude, AND his large scaled abstract artwork, which hung above, framing it all. FYI, black is Ralph’s favorite color and he once told me he could do an entire collection in black.
|Photo: Factory PR|
RR331 is comprised of 23 looks, all in a monochromatic color palette of black. The collection¹s nuances are subtle and in the details of the fabrics. Rucci plays with a range of materials including: double-faced wool crepe, double-faced cashmere, taffeta, hammered satin, velvet and wool barathea to further embody the varying emotions and personas of the modern woman. Within the collection are rare, Russian Barguzin sable and mink coats. Rucci created these pieces by hand using a technique of looping and sewing pelts on top of one another, allowing the pieces to feel feminine yet raw.
|Photo: Laurel Marcus|
While we all know there is nothing at all simple about the thought process or excruciating workmanship that goes into to his designs, the overall effect was one of pared down simplicity and when Ralph applies that light touch, it is when he is at his best. All the better to see and appreciate the lines, the cut, and the silhouette of his beautiful dresses and superbly constructed jackets and coats, which were also worn by several guests including Valerie Steele, Patricia Mears, Deeda Blair and Martha Stewart. Others on hand: Linda Fargo, Etta Froi, Robin Givhan, Suzy Menkes, Steven Kolb, Fern Mallis, Ken Downing, Hamish Bowles, Patrick McDonald, Yaz Hernandez, Jean Shafiroff, Margaret Hayes, Jody Donohue, Ellen Saltzman, Marylou Luther, Cathy Horyn, Teri Agins, and Tim Blanks. When I asked Tim which collections he most loved, he immediately said, “Hood by Air”!
Photo: Laurel Marcus
It was really a “night to remember” and for us, the highlight of New York fashion week. It seemed like everyone there to support Ralph is or was among those who helped define New York fashion for the past 30 years. There is such a hunger for real talent and a return to a golden age that many of us think has disappeared. Ralph’s return is a hopeful sign.
By the way, not only is Ralph talented; he’s considerate. Did I forget to mention that one reason this venue was chosen, was because it was across the street from his good friend Narciso Rodriguez’s 8 p.m. show, thereby enabling peopl to literally walk across the street.