' THE DECEMBER ISSUE ' / Ralph Rucci: THE NEXT EMPEROR
In an industry allegedly dominated by ego-maniacs, divas, copy-cats, trend-followers, weak talent and the directionless, true talent can be increasingly rare to spot, as well as show. Indeed, it is on the runway -- that daunting, demanding spectacle of craft/art/performance, where a designer's individual viewpoint is crystallized into magical moments which must be quickly presented within a short time-span allotted between other talents, and before the audience's attention wanders elsewhere. At the cost of millions per minute, the supporting cast of fitters/makeup artists/hair-dressers/lighting and stage technicians/prop-managers and florists/the DJ, and the bevy of beautiful models all contribute to 'that' moment or moments when the designer's vision is wholly realized. Then after thunderous applause (as well as favorable reviews and large orders from store buyers and enthusiastic clientele, or lucrative contracts for perfumes/lingerie/accessories and so forth), he or she is suitably feted by the critics, bloggers, editors, and the countless fashionistas/os who have religiously followed every movement or nuance of the journey from student to apprentice to head-designer of a house or atelier.
Mr Rucci, a native of Philadelphia, has distinguished himself from the ranks. He trained under Halston after studying at FIT, and in 1994 he launched Chado Ralph Rucci. In 2002, he became the first American designer in more than 60 years to be invited to show in Paris by the French Chambre Syndicate de la Haute Couture. The New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn writes that, " Mr. Rucci's clothes have a devotion to elegance that can feel as pitiless as a sermon on a hot summer day." And Robin Givhan of The Washington Post, wrote that, " Rucci's clothes are aspirational in every sense of the word. They ooze luxury from 100 paces, yet they are not ostentatious. They look expensive because every seam is perfect, every button exactly placed, every skirt has just the right lift. No dress of his would dare wrinkle." Mr Rucci works in a modernist vein, and is very inspired by the Spanish master, Balenciaga, who was very concerned with line, form, and the drape. Rucci excels at making complex construction appear simple; in his hands luxe materials are never heavy or precious, and seemingly float; diverse sources and cultural references are synthesized to a luxurious cohesiveness that is refined, sensuous, and timeless.
Not unlike the Japanese tea ceremony, Chado, for which his company is named, Mr. Rucci's creations are detailed, exact, and richly austere. Calmly and quietly, he has become a master of elevated sensibility in a realm celebrating aesthetics and tradition, all the while deftly bridging the past and the future. He is truly an artist, and his creations transcend mere garments to appropriate the aura (and stature) of Art.
Please enjoy today's visual treat, courtesy of Chado Ralph Rucci.