What It Means to Be a Modern Woman, According to Couturier Tamara Ralph | Savoir Flair
Interview
What It Means to Be a Modern Woman, According to Couturier Tamara Ralph
article TAMARA RALPH
by Mimi Droeshout 4-minute read October 3, 2023

In debuting her eponymous collection at Paris Haute Couture Week, Tamara Ralph speaks exclusively to Savoir Flair about what this milestone in her career represents. 

article TAMARA RALPH

In an exclusive interview that delves into the essence of her creative vision, Tamara Ralph articulates the potent mix of strength and femininity that courses through her debut couture collection. With styles designed to make women feel both "emboldened and empowered," the collection is a reflection of her own inner convictions. Her design language spotlights elements like metal roses, an innovative material choice that she's exploring for the first time. This collection is a love letter not only to women but also to her loyal team and her family's long couture legacy. This rich tapestry of elements comes together to define what it means to be a modern-day woman, according to Tamara Ralph.

img TAMARA RALPH

It was really a reflection on how I felt on the inside and the message I wanted to send to empower women and to really live life on your own terms.

In your show notes, you state, “We are creating the world we wish we existed." What does that look like to you?

It's a reflection of how I feel on the inside and the message I want to send. This collection was one in which women feel both emboldened and empowered; [they] live life on their own terms.

What kind of woman is wearing these designs?

She’s strong, but she’s still feminine. I think I’ve always had a very feminine aesthetic to my designs. I love celebrating women. I love celebrating femininity. This time she’s stronger, she’s bolder, and she’s more empowered.

The collection exudes strength with the juxtaposing materials. Why is this duality central to the collection? 

One piece that I feel is very symbolic of the collection is Look 12. It’s elegant and feminine, but also very strong, with metal roses on the bust; almost like armor on her chest. I worked with materials that we’d never worked with before, such as metalwork, and infused it in the clothes, not just as an accessory.

I think these armor-like details represent how women deal with certain things in their lives and come out strong and fearless. It is really those elements of femininity and strength that make a modern-day woman.

Was there anything in this collection that was a remnant of your previous couture collections? 

All of my staff are the staff that I’ve worked with for many, many years. It’s really lovely to have the team back together, and we love working together. They’re like family to me, and they have a special place in my heart. They are all incredibly talented people. There’s a lovely familiarity to being back together with them. 

Coming from generations of couture in my family – my grandmother was a couturier – I recognize the dedication to perfectionism and the love of craftsmanship they have for their work. I wanted to celebrate them and their incredible skills and loyalty. That’s why I also wanted them to come out at the end of the show to thank them.

What does this region mean to Tamara Ralph? Has it changed since the Ralph & Russo days, or are you still aiming to recapture your loyal customers?

This region means so much to me. The people are so lovely, warm, family-oriented, and welcoming. Those are values that I have as well, and that's why the Gulf has such a special place in my heart.

I have incredible relationships with the women of the Gulf region. I’ve been designing for and have known them for my entire career, and we have a special bond. I’ve been involved with some of them in special moments of their lives – whether it was their weddings or really important points of their lives or their family’s lives. These women really know how to celebrate fashion.

You previously touched upon venturing into different parts of the industry, such as cosmetics or home furnishings. Is this something you still think about? What does the future look like for Tamara Ralph? 

Couture is the heart of the house, but building a lifestyle aspect of the brand is something that I worked on right from the start. We have some lovely collaborations launching in the next couple of months. We can’t say what it is just yet, but it’s lovely to push my creativity in different areas and extend the brand offering into other product categories.

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