Chado- There are those who set trends, there are those who follow trends, and then there are the rare few who are always true to who they are- Ralph Rucci is one of those rarefied creatures. Once again the designer was slated to close Mercedes Benz Fashion week, and did he ever close it with thunder and awe.
Ralph Rucci presented a collection that was as visceral and tangibly heart felt as it gets. This was more than pretty clothing; this was an artist going deep within to a personal place and exposing it for all to see. One couldn’t help but feel a sense of privilege, as though you had been inducted into a scared sect- and this show was its code and secrets.
The thing to remember about Rucci is that his work deserves to be ranked with the Monet’s of art. Monet didn’t paint in the impressionist mode one day and cubist style the next- the work of an artist is more often than not a studied exploration of certain themes. In Rucci’s case: weightlessness. Rucci is not a man concerned with trends; his focus is rooted in pushing the boundaries of innovation and technique. For the past two seasons Rucci has been meditating on weightlessness. Using tulle as his foundation the designer has employed various applications to create the illusion of buoyancy. Tulle work continued this time it took the form inserts in knife pleated jersey dresses, it also was used as the foundation for fur strips pieced together for a coat. This season Rucci abandoned his favored ornamentations instead he focused more on simplicity and line. The increasingly important bold shoulder took on an ultra luxe look in this collection. Atelier Chado constructed the shoulder by building it from the center back then warping the fabric forward and draping it around the arm. The result of this manipulation is a bold shoulder that retains a gesture of fluidity.
What I found mystifying about Rucci’s collection was his ability to create vibrancy using very little color. That ability to create visual texture and intrigue is only another layer of the genius that is Rucci. The color palette was limited to a few tonal shades of sand, brown, black and a very methodical use of purple and orange.
Last season Rucci showed what at the time seemed to be his most consumer friendly collection, a collection that was clearly vying for a younger client. This collection was the fruition of last season’s aims, it was at once wearable, ageless and utterly true to the spirit of Chado. The collection began with a strong line of up very wearable looks including a considerable representation of trouser suits, knit dresses and rain coats. There was less in the way of gowns though there were several cocktail frocks. Audience favorites included a crystal studded cat suit worn under a feathered, chiffon gown. There were also a few of Rucci signature Zen gowns featuring the images of Eastern idols. While Rucci always marches to his own drum, he did offer some of the season must haves: leather trousers, a bold shoulder and fair dose of fur. In a moment of economic peril it will really be those can’t-leave-without pieces that sell. Rucci’s collection was chalk full of such pieces.
In a sea of trends and must haves it’s refreshing to see an artist who stays his course and remains true to his esthetic. At the end of the day Rucci is one of the great American designers of our generation and he deserves a degree of note for his continued contribution to elevating notion of American workmanship, quality and style.
– A. Coelho
Photos by Stevyn Llewellyn
See more images from the event below