INSPIRATION BEHIND THE RALPH&RUSSO AW 15 HAUTE COUTURE COLLECTION
On the eve of her coronation, a young Tsarina sheds off her priceless tiara and flicks loose her hair. To the audible gasp of the court’s noblemen, she storms out to search haunting forests for her Rasputin. The splendour of her ceremonial robes is the finest coup d’oeil ever seen.
A renewed interpretation of Ralph & Russo’s romantic sensibility is unleashed, manifesting in sensual femininity and sexy sophistication. The collection is a spectacle of love-laden wonders; a tour de force of elaborate design and labour-intensive artistry testifying to why – in no time – Ralph & Russo have instilled the Haute back into Couture.
The silhouettes belong to a woman resolutely assertive. Armour-like tailleurs are encrusted with crystal and pearl mosaics, and dense ogival motifs adorn structured jackets wherefrom grand ovate forms shell out dramatically in the essence of a Fabergé egg. Optical and graphic, the workmanship is a sublime blend of tradition and modernity. Though the overall three-dimensional apparition is unequalled, the immense detail is to be awed at up-close.
In a subtle demonstration of pure technical wizardry, motifs on elaborate tone-on-tone embroideries – silk and metallic threadwork and ornate micro-beaded floral reliefs unearthed in Lesage’s archives of the 1960s – are meticulously matched to geometrical perfection in flawless tailoring. Lustful Guipure is enhanced with cut-outs of its own and pompon tassels are made of mink. Even brocades are bejewelled. Delicate as Limoges porcelain, floral silk needlework curls extravagantly into a maze across the body, appliquéd with feather petals – cut, coiled and braided.
The eye-watering adornment does not eclipse the masterly cut of satins sheathing the body like liquid bronze. Theda Bara is swathed in luscious velvet robes – deep emerald, black and midnight blue – embellished softly by moonlight and shaded mysteriously by layers of organza.
As the enchanted tale progresses, a series of ethereal and liberated silhouettes ensue. Air-light tulle swirls and twists dazzlingly, echoing Isadora Duncan’s untrammelled spirit and diaphanous chiffons are fit for Salomé’s Dance of the Seven Veils. Now a staple of Ralph & Russo, this season’s capes evoke the magnificence of ritual, yet they are so delicately light in spirit that they exalt the glory of woman as deity, billowing at times to reveal Rococo heels.
Ralph & Russo’s forte may lay in savoir faire with breathtaking bravado, but it is above all their ability to inject such pageantry with contemporary viability that make their creations internationally coveted. These are the very gowns making it into the private wardrobes of a thriving client base; a testament to Ralph & Russo as a forward-looking maison de couture of the ‘now’ era.