before his fall 2005 fashion show, it wasn't hard to believe that
Ralph Rucci was dead tiredcouriers were still bringing in
garment bags from the sewers back at the studio to the pressing
area. Mr Rucci simultaneously looked tired and exhilarated as he
guided me on a personal tour of the collection as it was laid out
in the dressing area. His eyes shone with excitement and enthusiasm
as he displayed piece after piece and explained the intricacies
of his designs. He seemed to have caught a second wind after his
long night at the studio, his animated gestures setting off sparks
throughout the room. Ah, I was in the presence of a true master
and I knew it.
Rucci's seasonal presentation usually closes out New York Fashion
Week, but this year, an interloper took that spot although she didn't
diminish the impact of Mr Rucci's superb collection. To the contrary,
it pointed out the wide discrepancy between witless design wanna-be
hackswhich shall go nameless hereand true artistic geniuses
such as Mr Rucci, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Sui and Yeohlee Teng and
John Bartlett, to name just a few.
His collection was quite unlike any other collection
shown that week, bar none. While you sometimes sit at a show and
mentally tick off the influences, there is no such exercise
that goes on at a Ralph Rucci show. He doesn't even knock off his
own past designs, for God's sakes. He operates on a higher plane,
from a place of higher intellectual curiosity. The defining theme
of this collection was all about suspension, with his designs achieving
miraculous feats of balance and style.
In addition to his usually rigorous detailed and
quietly understated luxury, this season, Mr Rucci's simple, clean
and classic lines have a new sense of artistry and achievement.
His new technical advances includes leather threads sewn in rich
fabrics giving the appearance of overlaid matchsticks, insets of
alligator skin adding surface interest, intricate cutouts of fabric
connected by hand sewn threadwork, the addition of French knots
and his signature curved seam detailing are left open creating a
muted, mosaic effect on some of the pieces.
Under the hypnotic music of Thomas Newman's soundtracks
from Lemony Snicket, an Unfortunate Series of Events and
The Green Mile, Mr Rucci opened the show with a simple dressa
twig-embroidered blue-grey crêpe dressthat was very
reminiscent of the designs he's built his reputation. But pretty
soon, all bets were off, as he dazzled his audience with feats of
fancy such as his chocolate silk gros de longres rain ensemble
(with a daring leopard lining), sexy shift dresses in orange, pink
and plum, and beautifully cut fur pieces. The standout designs amongst
the fur pieces have to be his Xena, Warrior Princess sable
cape with notched or braided leather and his superb lavender jade
chinchilla jacket ensemble.
Ralph Rucci operates on a
higher plane, from a place of higher intellectual curiosity