Preparing for a return to the Parisian couture calendar this summer, Ralph Rucci reflected on his career, the importance of inclusion and the state of American fashion.
The New York designer will make his third appearance thanks to the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion. Her last show was in 2019 and her first show in 2002. The two-year lag since her last show was mainly due to the pandemic and spending. âI was not able to assemble to make a video to participate in the collections. And consumer spending, even in couture, was horribly over. There was a moral conscience to be safe at home because no one knew about the infections, âhe said.
Without the financial means to put on a live show, Rucci made a film with David Boatman, who created the documentary “Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House” in 2007, which was part of the Sundance Film Festival. Paul Podlucky will take care of the hair and make-up. Three models will also wear Dean Harris and Elsa Peretti jewelry and Jean-Michel Cazabat shoes.
Rucci and his assistant will travel to Paris in early July with the collection to meet members of the press. It will also be an opportunity to meet clients who come to Paris. The designer plans to stick to the mandatory minimum of 25 styles. âInvariably your client wants you to take something from your collection and develop it for them,â he explained.
The more inclusive Parisian couture calendar is important, Rucci said. “They really opened the doors to so many invited members – young people, African Americans, Spaniards [people] everyone all over the world, which makes it multidimensional, âhe said.
Excited by the arrival of Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss to the group next season, Rucci said: âIt’s good because couture needs less evening dresses. I’ve always felt that way. If you look at one of my collections, it’s usually 75 percent day wear and 25 percent evening wear.
Partial hand finishing, spiral stitching and other niceties, Rucci said: âThe effect of tailoring clothes, as taught by Mr. [Hubert] de Givenchy is that it should never appear to have been touched by human hands, âhe said.
His longtime friend Peretti offered wise advice ahead of his death in March, Rucci said. âShe said, ‘You have to do this slowly.’ I said, ‘Oh come on, I’ve never done this slowly in my life.’ She said, âYou have to do it because that’s how good work and great ideas emerge. She was absolutely right.
Known for sketching 200 models to pick one, Rucci said he needs to start designing for each season with raincoats or coats. ” I do not know why. It’s just my neurosis. Then I can make dresses or jackets, whatever. I research and think of an idea before I put pen to paper. I had to let go [of the preconception] that I was doing less and doing more because it has more substance as opposed to just quick ideas for possibility. This is how the major ready-to-wear manufacturers operate. Here’s the fabric, make 20 looks and pick the top five, âRucci said.
This fall will mark its 41st year in the fashion industry. During the lockdown âwhen no one was buying clothes,â Rucci analyzed prices. With silks from Taroni, cashmere from Colombo and other primo fabrics, Rucci’s prices are a quarter of those of other fashion houses in Paris. “There’s no reason the world’s most famous fashion house should ask for an opening price of $ 100,000 for a daytime suit without embroidery.”
Couture, like other fashion sectors, however, has adapted. But it still shocks Rucci that the couture is “kind of an international made-to-order video with so many houses, but that’s how it is.” However, he still needs to âfeel the pins and look at the proportions and dimensions he can study,â and in-person fittings are preferred.
But for now, he’s sending canvases to clients in Qatar and other countries, and running a virtual fitting via Zoom or Skype. âI’m on the phone saying, ‘Put your shoulder up. Tuck in the armhole, lengthen the back, whatever it is. It’s happening. The canvas comes back to me, we take it apart, create another decent paper pattern, cut it from fabric, brush it on and zip it up for a checkered fit. He returns and the couture garment is made.
As for critics who think the couture is dead or dated, Rucci disagreed: âI want to know one thing from them, ‘What’s dated?’ Having your clothes made to suit your body can be done at a local tailor or seamstress. There is nothing archaic about it, âhe said.
Regarding the denunciations of conspicuous consumption of couture, he said, âI am not denying it in any way because of the conspicuous consumption that we see here in this country with sneakers that sell for thousands of dollars and diamonds. And conspicuous consumption by people in their twenties who have nothing to do with these items for intellectual balance.
If a customer comes to Rucci for a coat try-on, there are important subtleties of “building the neckline away from the neck in the front, plunging down the back very lightly like a Japanese geisha, lifting a sleeve so that it makes a woman look chic, slimmer and taller. Or have a barrel effect on her back. Everyone wants to look desirable, so fit is necessary. It’s something that I do. obsess me and my team. I don’t do couture collections and show off hot pink dresses with lots of sequins and feathers. It’s much best done in a drag show. I like a double-sided crepe jersey for the fit mysterious winding.
Decorative sewing has never been Rucci’s game. His low-key artistry is calm. “You know what you’re looking at, if you know it.”
Luxury for him comes down to big silk coats, double-sided cashmere and fabrics embroidered for days “so that it is not visible”. Evening wear can mean evening gowns, âsexy thingsâ and very dimensional draped taffeta or jersey, he said. Formal wear most often requires adjustments, the designer said. “Very few women buy anything from the collection the way it was presented.” On 45 models from the last seam [show], perhaps five were purchased as presented.
In addition to day wear, fur-trimmed items, especially those with Russian sable, are another opportunity, the designer said. Aware of the fur controversy, Rucci noted how faux fur designs require wasting so much synthetic liquid substance to make acrylic. For more than 20 years, he has collaborated with Nick Pologeorgis on furs.
After parting ways with his backers six years ago after a two-year run, Rucci designed only for private clients and has no interest in remaking an rtw line, although something like d interior could be a possibility. “[During the split,] 14 people were made redundant, relations were broken, people were scared, paranoia set in like a disease. It was all part of the big family that I created, âsaid Rucci, who has also lost control of his brand name – hence RR331. âIt was the most extreme shock to watch my business explode in a bloodbath. All of this was not to happen. They closed their business, âhe said, declining to name the label Sies Marjan, which closed last year.
Rucci claimed that top model makers and workers had to sign contracts to stay there. Now he has “all of his people back.” I work with the same great people so life is great. Everything comes around.
Overall, Rucci is enjoying his career more. âI am capable of having freedom. I’ve never had a life before. I worked constantly because of the schedules and the deadlines. I worked every weekend and every night quite late.
After Thursday’s interview, Rucci later texted: “You can never expect an arts and culture based company to marry one on Wall Street.”
The idea that American fashion is on its way back, in part thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s upcoming two-part show and the return of designers like Thom Browne to New York Fashion Week, is an idea that Rucci supports. “It’s a good thing that is happening to raise awareness and hope among young people in cities across the country, who want to get involved in fashion,” he said.
After giving three Zoom talks at different schools during the shutdown, Rucci said, âThere was just a deep depression among these young people. What are we doing? Where are we going? I think what’s going on in American fashion will help. I hope that the standards can be maintained and that The Met show is sold out and that there are standards for which clothing can be displayed. “
From his perspective, this means that a design by Charles James, James Galanos, or Halston shouldn’t be displayed near a style by, say, a John Smith. âYou can’t just go surfboarding. “