A (Brush) Stroke of Genius

Ralph Rucci Spring 2013 Collection
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Ralph Rucci’s 8 pm show, held at The Theatre, at Lincoln Center was one of his best collections to date. The well edited 55 pieces were a testament to his couture sensibility, his finely honed craft, his fabric innovation and his formidable dressmaking and tailoring skills. Ralph is not only a collector, but an accomplished artist in his own right and that was more than apparent for spring 2013: some of the most standout pieces benefitted from artistic color blocking, color splicing, hand painting, brush strokes and were made into wearable works of art.

Chado Ralph Rucci coral zip front dress
(Photo: Syle.com)

All his signatures were firmly in place (the use of trapunto, horsehair, insets, braiding, feathers), as were his signature fabrics (double face wool, silk jersey, silk gazar, silk cloque, tulle, taffeta, caviar beads, patent), but it was, dare I say, more lighthearted and youthful than ever thanks to an overall restraint and simplicity which counter balanced the lavishness of it all. The use of zippers and neoprene lended an athletic, sporty air (scuba meets couture). And some of the most successful looks were predicated on relatively ‘basic’ tank tops, tees, and shirts, but naturally, there was nothing run of the mill about the execution and end result.

When is a blouse and skirt, more than just a blouse and skirt? When Ralph uses coral caviar beads for the top, and white and coral duchess satin for the bottom. One of my favorite dresses looked like a t shirt and skirt but was actually one piece: the top was a caviar beaded shocking pink short sleeved t shirt and the skirt was black matte jersey, and it had insets of shocking pink.

 Coral caviar beaded blouse with white and coral Duchess skirt and stole
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Perfectly balanced, it hit all the right notes and offered plenty of variety (in terms of silhouette, shape, proportion, and color). And it had more than a few nice surprises along the way. Clear plastic was used for accessories (high heeled slingbacks and gloves). A sleek black patent and trapunto silk faille jacket and pant opened the show, but it was soon followed by a simple fitted white tank top paired with multi layer chiffon wrap pants in a rainbow of colors (the pants were so full I initially thought it was a long skirt). When I saw the back of the model, I realized her white top was black in back.

Shocking and white trench coat
(Photo: Style.com)

A shocking pink 7/8 trench, and shocking pink wool fitted jacket, both worn with white pants, were white in back. This idea of front and back being completely different repeated itself several times (I suppose, when you spend an arm and a leg for fashion, it’s nice to think you have two different outfits in one – LOL).

 Lemon and chrome fluted bodice tulle dress
(Photo: Udor Photography)

Getting back to the color palette, while there was a lot of black and white, there was also a welcome explosion of high voltage color: chrome yellow, coral, grass green, citrus, and a shocking pink that was particularly electric. This shade turned up throughout the show: sometimes it was used for an entire look, down to the matching bag, sometimes it was used sparingly, as an inset, sometimes it was mixed with white or black (or both), and a few times it was mixed with other strong colors which lent a painterly look.

Multi-colored taffeta gown
(Photo: Udor Photography)

For example, a black double face wool coat had paint strokes of white, chrome, and shocking, and towards the end of the show, a model came out wearing a multi colored taffeta gown which had a simple sheer black fitted top and voluminous floor length skirt. She artfully held up one side of the skirt, so that the audience could see the yellow, coral, and shocking underskirt. It was dramatic and an obvious crowd pleaser.

To Rome with Love

 Spring 2013 Diane von Furstenberg ombre chiffon strapless top over pants
(Photo: Style.com)

Diane Von Furstenberg’s collections have traditionally been lifestyle oriented, offering her customer many options, from day to evening. But there was a noticeable lack of actual work or even day clothes, in Ms. Furstenberg’s spring 2013 runway show, presented yesterday afternoon to a packed house, with her good friend Valentino sitting in the front row (since he has formally retired, I guess he has more time to go to fashion shows). It was filled with her signature graphic and geometric patterns (often mixed together), and there were strong jolts of color in addition to black & white.

Navy crepe all over pearl jacket, tank, and pants

While dresses were still key, there were plenty of pants, jumpsuits, and shorts, and it was really all about layering (not all of it worked I might add), and embellishments. The show had a hard to miss freewheeling, boho vibe, and the clothes seemed better suited for club hopping, partying on a yacht, than for going to work.

Two tone crepe embellished jacket and navy crepe pant with embellished waist
(Photo: Style.com) 

Actually, Diane called it “Palazzo” and her program notes explained that the inspiration behind the line, is a woman who has the “polish of a princess and the heart of a gypsy”, who “fantasizes about a life less structured”, enabling her to travel to fabulous places like Rome, Marrakesh, Jaipur. Hmmm, could she be telling us something? We all know that DVF is a multi tasker par excellence; a woman with endless business commitments and someone who is always on the go. Maybe it is SHE who is doing the fantasizing? Just saying.

-Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET by Rhonda Erb

Paul Labrecque Daily Haircare Collection

It’s been a long hot summer and the heat, humidity, rain and wind have probably wreaked havoc on your hair. Help get your hair back in shape with this collection which includes Daily Shampoo Moisturizing Hair Wash, Daily Conditioner Moisture Mud Instant Hair Repair, Daily Style Alcohol Free Firm Hold Gel and Daily Finish Shea Butter Texture Balm. These products are gentle enough to be used every day and they will restore your hair to its natural moisture balance.

Available at: paullabrecque.com, $95.00

Enter to win the Labrecque Daily Haircare Collection! Click betterbetsonline@gmail.com  and register your email address before 11:59 PM EDT, September 14, 2012. Be sure to put “Hair” in the subject line. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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