Sticking to the program of discussing venue before clothes, this season Ralph Rucci opted to show in his palace of a new showroom on West 26th street. The upside was that one could reach out and touch the clothes and get very personal with them, the downside was the audience was abbreviated from its usual huge grouping that assembled at the tents. The drama gets dialed down but the ability to really see these clothes, albeit briefly, was quite an asset to both designer and viewer.
As a veteran of Mr. Rucci’s collections and shows, I have come to see that these clothes are so very evolutionary and that without question, the devil is in the details. If you only see these clothes on the superficial level, so to speak, you miss so much of what these creations are all about. You might not see the little slit on a pant leg, the occasional asymmetrical hem line, the serpentine insets, the width of a pant leg and snaking zippers or slightly eased edges of the clothes in general. This is to say that Mr. Rucci has retained the laser razor sharp finish that is integral to his clothes but he has slightly blurred the edges which for some reason created a younger feel to them without having changed his DNA or vocabulary. By the way, that’s herculean in task without diluting or sacrificing!
The opening segment of dresses was pretty amazing in both breadth and variation; each dress carried a piece/word of the Rucci vocabulary, some slightly and some more abundantly but every one of them distinctively his. The coats and jackets were classic Rucci but again slightly softened, there was even a “suit” jacket with cape effect that was damned spectacular in that low key Ralph Rucci way. The novitiate might not catch the nuance of the fabrications that are used here such as incredible beading techniques to a leather devore to the unbelievably almost gossamer weight furs. Under an amazing black ermine, Ralph snuck in a fabulous surplice black crepe top and pants that can only be described as so wildly understatedly chic and timeless. There was also an iced orchid cashmere mini group which was incredibly luscious.
Evening was decidedly more relaxed and chic in both rendering and silhouette; standout ½ and ½ short persimmon sequin and crepe chemise as well as was the hand painted flared skirted gazar gown which screamed comfortable and remarkable the same time but so so RR.
In the end this was a collection that was not as dramatic as his usual fare but certainly never veered far from home base. All of it shown with prefect coordination and the most tasteful of Blahnik shoes and boots. Ralph is one the very few who allows his clothes to speak for themselves without the help of gimmicks and trends that flood runways all over the world. That quality is what sets apart a master from a mere worker ... take that any way you want.