Fans of fashion are quickly learning how to manage their expectations as the industry transforms into a new animal – one that adapts to consumer desires on demand. In a world apart from the rest of the industry, with its blending of menswear and womenswear and direct-to-consumer experiment, lies couture, the land of avant-garde and excess. In the realm of couture, exquisitely crafted garments are a reliable attraction, and few are as adept at the language of desire as Ralph & Russo. The brand’s collections often pull from the natural world, but the results are preternatural – astonishingly embellished and opulently vibrant. If paradise could be captured in dress form, the servants of sartorial bliss would be Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo.
Ralph & Russo’s self-possessed runway goddesses flounced down the catwalk in looks both tough and delicate.
For Fall 2016 Couture, Ralph & Russo continued its Eden theme with a collection of gowns and frocks that blossomed and burst in elegant, sculptured forms. For all the grandiose embroidery and embellishment of the clothes, it seemed surprising to see a retro theme running through the show, but Ralph & Russo’s floral cloche hats and mod mini dresses did not look out of place amidst all of the tulle, chiffon, and bespoke lace. This fact has everything to do with the level of craftsmanship that the brand represents.
Ralph & Russo’s self-possessed runway goddesses flounced down the runway in looks both tough and delicate. Some were topped with metal mesh bodices that resembled chainmail, while others were sheer and fragile. Of particular beauty was the brand’s gorgeous floral embroidery, which was especially enticing when worn head to toe, from cloche hat to sculptured heel. Dramatic capes, often lined in juxtaposing colors, also ramped up the intensity of the collection’s vivid landscape. In keeping with couture tradition, Ralph & Russo closed the show with an intense bridal number, which was comprised of a cocoon cape and fishtail gown decorated with organza and millions of microbeads that were painstakingly applied by hand. If such extravagance doesn’t vibe with your bridal vision, don’t worry; there are dozens of other fairytale looks in this collection to fulfill your dream scenario.