RALPH & RUSSO
HAUTE COUTURE – AUTUMN/WINTER 2014/15
For Autumn Winter 2014/2015, Ralph & Russo access the universe of interior photographer Massimo Listri, whose sense of perspective and devotion to detail were elemental in conceiving this opulent collection.
Listri’s unique strength lies in making interiors look so absolutely vivid, as if they had a secret life of their own. This romantic collection captures the soul of such spatial intimacy - be it of a baroque hall or the mirrors at Versailles, depicting what their residents could have worn… today.
Voluminous gowns in duchess satin and silk gazar contrast with fluid, floor-sweeping chiffons and silk crepe that accumulate into generous folds and shapes;
now and then assembling into cloud-like peplums that float gently below feminine waists. Multi-layered ruffles spiral around column dresses, and skirts arise dramatically, forming perfectly chiseled marble-smooth arches.
Each bend and curve calls to mind the mysterious depth that echoes in Listri’s portraits.
In homage to the extraordinary details and light captured, the embellishment is painstakingly fine with the savviest ‘petites mains’ embedding astonishing adornment into exquisitely hand-made garments. Feathers quiver with whimsical frayed organza appliqué, and crystal encrusted jumpsuits strike out in a blaze.
Massimo Listri’s photographs are celebrated as eulogies of bygone times. This, however, is not a collection that lingers on the most nostalgic aspect of palatial grandeur, but awakens it with a sublime blend of tradition and modernity. Never entirely eclipsed by the high-impact design, wearability remains key for Ralph & Russo Haute Couture. The catwalk creations are the very gowns making it into the private wardrobes of discerning clients; a testament to such inherent function and comfort.
The Ralph & Russo woman is forever a modern romantic idol exuding eternal elegance.
Fashion and tailoring spans four generations for Tamara Ralph, Creative Director. It’s no surprise then that she was self-taught years before graduating from Sydney’s Whitehouse Institute of Design. Her flair and sheer mileage in creating dresses for her inner circle swiftly sprung into a thriving business, designing for Australia’s elite. The finesse of Tamara’s aesthetic dwells in nostalgia for heyday elegance and glamour, an innate appreciation for infinitely delicate craftsmanship and a captivation with the female form. It was during a trip to London in 2003 that Tamara met fellow Australian, Michael Russo, President & CEO.
Michael’s nous for business has propelled a number of his previous firms into highly desirable enterprises. His niche expertise saw him in high demand with financial institutions such as Barclay’s, Deutsche Bank and Price Waterhouse Coopers. In 2013, a remarkable growth of 400% a year saw this real life couple make Fourtune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list, along with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer.
The dynamic duo’s next accolade was entry into fashion’s most coveted club, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture; making fashion history for Ralph & Russo as the first British label in almost a century to show on the official Paris Haute Couture Week schedule. The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture is the governing body that protects this French sector and determines to excruciatingly high criteria which labels may be eligible to become true couture houses. Announcement of Ralph & Russo’s membership into the closed circle cemented their status as a luxury label to be reckoned with. We expect savoir-faire, which is being lost, and Ralph & Russo have it, reported Didier Grumbach, the federation’s President. With the new bestowal came a Parisian showroom on Rue Francois 1er, placing Ralph & Russo astride two fashion capitals: London and Paris.
On entering this maison de coutures Sloane Street headquarters where they’ve brought to London a piece of Paris’ Avenue Montaigne (a bevy of skilled petites mains in a lively atelier, complete with Lesage-trained embroiderers) it becomes apparent that Ralph & Russo is a house embedding innovation into tradition, yet with its roots entwined in Haute Couture’s golden era.
Allure, romance and timelessness constitute the brand ethos; hallmarks that have seen them adorn the likes of HRH Sheikha Mozah of Qatar and Angelina Jolie. Their ideology is to reinstate the legacy and fantasy of couture that was spun by the great masters – John Galliano and Christian Lacroix, and previously Valentino Garavani and Yves Saint Laurent.
With the combined fortes of Ralph’s passion for perfection and commitment to fantasy and Russo’s management and intuition for hiring the best executives, Ralph & Russo is a couture brand amply resourced to become a luxury powerhouse.