Alchemy. It's the only word that fits when talking about the Wizard and Magician that is Ralph Rucci. How he transforms Fabric and Thought into something that if clothes could be "ART" These would be the clothes that approach that Moniker. His work is Transfixing, Transfiguring.... Transcendental! And, now he has managed what some thought would be the Quixotic Impossible Dream and Managed to augment his abilities to speak in a newer more understandable language yet still all the while remaining the Patois that is so Very Recognized by the Faithful whom worship at the Temple of Chado!
He has dropped the "Chado" and Now is Lighter, If Rucci could admittedly be accused in the past of Audacious Highbrow Couture, that Damning with High Praise can no longer be levied against him. His Couture has relaxed yet lost none of it's Intellectual Charm. His audience has Expanded as well as business, he has perhaps begun to peek out under the cloak of disdain that has been draped about him by High Priestess Wintour. He always had his business regardless of how massively Ms. Wintour and The Magazine "Vogue" Have Ignored and Dismissed him. That was because the women he dressed Are Forces of Nature who have no fear of dressing in Defiance of Ms. Wintour to her face... Women like Deeda McCormick-Blair, Mercedes Bass, Juliana Margulies. They live in their own personal world of style and refused to be dictated to or kowtow to The Icy Monarch that is Anna! That has kept him a Success but not a Household name.
The time arrived, one would imagine, to make peace, not with the Doyenne Of Conde Nast, but with all the critics and other editors who have for years been begging the Gorgeous, and true to his Tough Upbringing and Stubborn Italian Heritage, Hard Headed Artiste to come down from the Ivory Tower of his Intellectual and Arty Inclinations and Give the women of the world something a little less... Demanding. If the Essential Demanding Esprit of the Rucci women has not disappeared, it has Metamorphosed into something without all the trappings of the "Grand Dame" cloak of erudition that in the past made his clothes as Awing as they were and frankly by me.... is missed, but also made his clothing seem too Intimidating and Regal.
Well, Regal still lives in the House of That Chado Built, but more of a HRH Kate Middleton Regal, or Princess Charlene Regal.... even say a Natalie Portman kind of Regal, More Youthful, less Extroverted in it's outward grandness (Oh, HOW I WISH Ralph would show a Good Ol' Infanta Gown Soon!) More Subdued but no less Imbued with Gravitas! This Spring 2014 Collection was filled to the brim with such Lightness and Energy that if felt so much less encumbered and indebted to the codes of the "Chado" Past but retained all of the Artful Synergy of The Intellectual and the Ephemeral!
Of the 64 Exits I could write a Dissertation on Each and Every single outfit and still it wouldn't be a sufficient treatise on the Magic of Rucci's Craft and Exacting and at times, Exhilaratingly so, Punishing Technique! I have to be a little bold in saying this here... there is something, in his Thick Armed, MASSIVELY Broad Shouldered and Barrel Chest Physicality that plays somewhat into the Leather Daddy idea that Peter Marino only Childishly costumes himself in and is probably is as truly leather daddy as Maya Angelou! No, Ralph has the Sensual and Cool yet Dominantly Passionate personality that hints at, suggests, that he might have a little bit of the Sadist in him. His clothes at times ARE so Genuinely Taxing in the best of ways that it feels like only someone who was the most Exciting of Taskmasters could create them. It's that Tenuous, Dangerous Line that his clothes teeter upon that has made Women Love and Men Admire them and those same qualities are what make Him as a person so Mesmerizing... That something is Powerfully Dangerous under that Cool, Superiorly Intellectual Visage. A Wild Passionate Dervish... why do you think his audience for ages has ignored the Queen Bee Herself and Thronged to his shows and Men AND Women alike jump to their feet in Applause And Rapture, because like the clothes... the man himself is Incredibly Desirable. That isn't some sexual fawning on my part, it's true... most you hear speak about him will find themselves mentioning how intense and handsome he is and how he has a open and easy Mangnetism that is patently obvious.
What you may ask does all that have to do with the clothes... Plenty! Desire is a Commodity that Rucci trades in with his clothes in the most Sensual, Overstated yet Coolly Subdued way... it was in his past work the stolid Reserve of the outfits, the buttoned up concealment that had the fires of passion burbling beneath... Now, he has freed the Passion in the most Daryl Van Horn of ways and let loose some of the restriction and given us a breath of Air in his new vision!
From the Beginning on Elise Crombez, we knew we were seeing a New Ralph Rucci. The Casual nature of that first Exit was still Calibrated on the side of the Rarefied... this was never the Casual you'd see on the ground floor of Macy's! No, This was Couture Casual. The Sublime Vision that arose from this collection is that when the Great Vampire Armand that is Uncle Karl ever decides to R.I.P (Because for Hells sake we ALL know that man isn't going to die until HE DECIDES to! IF, He decides too! LOL!) Ralph has the Eye, The Mind, and The Artistry to Take over where Karl leaves off and move in the same directions at Chanel. It was so clear that much of this collection could easily fit in with a Chanel Couture Wardrobe that it wouldn't even be One Iota Funny! It was Brilliant and Utterly Blissful to witness!
What were some of the highlights you may ask... Oh God where to start... Exit No. 6 On Pauline Hoarau, A Grayish Pink ensemble of A Expertly cut and Executed Blouse and Pant with a matching Apron around the waist (Now, Here, I must go off on a Tangent... where as all the critics were fawning over how the Aprons made the clothes Fresher and Younger, their abundance in the collection was neither, FOR ME, Enhancing or Necessary. More Annoying than anything! but as a Styling Trope I am willing to bypass it but not in the same mood to lavish praise on it!) Exit No. 13 one of Rucci's Signatures... The Caban Coat... In pristine White and 3/4 Sleeved, Absolute Perfection over it's Black Pants and Beaded black blouse and Gunmetal Metal mesh Apron! SUBLIME!
Exit No. 18 was one of those looks that put us gently on the Chanel Trajectory and was Tear-Inducing in it's awesomeness! A Coral Bolero Extravagantly Embroidered in white sequins as to suggest flowers but abstractly so, worn with an Antique Pink Chiffon and Cherry Blossom Pink Crepe Trousers... Heaven Is A Place On Earth! Exit No 37 was a piece of Engineering Genius for anyone but a Ralph Rucci... for him, it was old hat but never ceases to be Fresh and Stunning each and every time... A paneled Pantsuit in Snow white with the jacket in solid square panels on sheer horsehair, I Weep! Exits No. 46 and No. 47 made us again aware of the Chanel/Lagerfeld Sensibility laying in Rucci's wheelhouse! The Bronze Paillette stunner of a Slip dress was instantly Covetous and No. 47 with it's Black Holographic Striated Paillettes chunkily adorning it was MAGIC!
I Could go on. And On. And ON! Even though I have left Brevity Well behind, I will endeavour to be Succinct in my final analysis. The Simple Elegant Feather Plumed and Sequined Number of Exit No. 51 was one of my Favorite dresses this season and simmered with a Shagadelic "Hullaballoo" Go-Go Dancer Sauciness! Not mention it was Brilliantly Embroidered! Exit No. 54 on Nykhor Paul was a Dream Walking. In Spring Pink, the Easiness of the Slinky slip dress smothered from top to hem in sequins with it's matching full-length cardigan surmounted atop it... Breath Stealing! And The Finale Passage of White Gowns Exit Nos. 60-62... Words Are not Capable Sufficiently to Describe their countenance! Hypnotic would be a grand start!
Ralph Rucci is one of those designers than can send me into Rhapsodies of Prolixity and still never feel like i truly came even remotely close to describing how Incandescent his work from season to season is! I feel like some Groupie for a Rock 'N' Roller in the way his clothes send me Dizzily into throes of Fashion Ecstasy! He is A Couturier In The most Literal and Awesome Sense... This is in his BLOOD! This is the destiny of The Erudite, Cosmopolitan, Renaissance Man That is Ralph Rucci! We all who love his work are simply LUCKY to be able to Worship at his Temple.
And for what it is worth... I myself, am hoping we see him in the metier where he can make all of his most Dramatic Fashion Fantasies Reality.... The Halls of Haute Couture in Paris. There are many Practitioners of the Craft who shouldn't be let within 400 feet of a Couture House... (Did Someone mention Raf...?!?!) But Ralph Rucci is one of the masters, Like Charles James, Christian Dior, Hubert De Givenchy, Emanuel Ungaro, Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Lacroix, Madeline Vionnet.... And Chillrens... if those names don't make you Melt for Couture then there isn't enough help in the world for you!