(All photos Rick Guidotti for Ralph Rucci)
Ralph Rucci is arguably one of the most achingly consistent designers in the world, and unsurprisingly, he stayed very true to form for resort 2011, which was recently unveiled at his soho atelier.
It was a study in all the Ralph ‘isms’ his fans (of which there are legions) have come to know, love, and expect. Which is to say that notwithstanding this is a ready to wear collection, it is still more ‘haute couture’ than most haute couture collections. There was the signature and meticulous attention to detail, craftsmanship, and workmanship; the vertical seams and trapunto stitching; beautifully sculptural necklines; the use of insets (sheer, horsehair, patent, and ‘plexi’); the experimentation with shape and volume (especially with regard to the sleeves); the shrugs and boleros (one in particular was so abbreviated it almost did not ‘exist’); tunics; caftans; slip dresses; perfect little black dresses; infantas (one dramatic version was gloriously named a ‘beach’ infanta to make it seem more in tune with the season).
There were the indelibly ‘Ralph’ and very couture fabrics: glazed linen, silk radzmir, silk shantung, double faced wool/silk, rayon jersey, silk organza, gazar and printed gazar, organdy, matte jersey, Ponte jersey (a ‘magic’ thick stretchy rayon jersey fabric with ‘magical’ attributes according to Naji, Ralph’s assistant); paillettes.
And then there was the chic color palette: mainly neutral with an emphasis on black, white, ivory, caramel, truffle, almond, hazelnut, with hits of color in the form of coral (orange really), parrot green and shocking pink. When pastels were employed (pale blue, celadon, mauve), they were so muted they were almost closer to pale gray.
Last but not least was the art influence (and I say that because RR is a very accomplished artist himself, with several one man shows under his belt, and art has always figured in prominently to everything he does). And so, there were the art inspired and painterly prints and patterns: graphic stripes, an abstract Dalmatian print, and an abstract circle print that Naji perfectly described as resembling an impression a glass would leave if left on a surface. It was also hard to ignore the one very large wall in Ralph’s atelier, that was literally covered with a massive mural of his own design, the colors of which perfectly echoed those in the resort collection (Naji promised new artwork for the next collection