Ralph & Russo takes a distinctly different approach to couture than that of its peers. While Couture Week acts as a showcase for the premiere talent of a designer’s artisans with few looks actually put into production or sold outright, Ralph & Russo actually benefits in a big way. Because Tamara Ralph designs every single piece in the collection with a buyer in mind, the brand actually ends up moving everything. Last season, the brand sold every piece, multiple times over. This places it in a unique position among the more well-known names on the couture schedule — its clothes are connected to their future owners in a way that few others can boast.
Due to the brand’s intimate relationship with its clientele, there is hardly a need for the clothes to tell a story on the runway, but this collection is overflowing with fairytale charm. The setting is a forest through which tsarinas romp on the eve of their coronation, grasping one last night of freedom before they officially come of age in the eyes of the state. This spellbinding tale has the effect of enchantment, as Ralph & Russo’s stunning dresses are imbued with a sense of freedom and youthfulness. Frocks are spun from delicate Chantilly lace, while others cascade into a waterfall of pristine ruffles. There are sleeveless puffball gowns in gleaming champagne, fully feathered capes worn over sensually embroidered nude dresses, and maxis scored with paillettes and finished with sheer trains. While the fantasy is at the fore, there are a few underlying pieces that are more down to earth in the mix, like a crystal-embellished navy jumpsuit, a loungewear-esque, silk one-piece suit, and a slinky, teal, velvet gown with plunging neckline. Between these quieter moments are gilded looks made from metallic guipure lace, gold bullion, gleaming appliqués, and 3-D embroidery that glitters from fit-and-flare surfaces. Whoever ends up as the owner of these opulent, fantasy-driven pieces is a lucky woman indeed.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree