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New York Fashion Week: Ralph Rucci's Chado charm

September 17, 2010 |  2:19 pm


It was such a treat to see Ralph Rucci's Chado collection up close and personal at his studio this season, where it was possible to appreciate the kind of unparalleled workmanship he is doing, right here in New York City. In truth, it was like an old-school couture presentation at a French maison, and the clothes were certainly worthy.

Rucci was thinking lighter for spring -- he even introduced cotton fabrics into his typically more opulent repertoire in an effort to reach out to more customers. (That means $3,000 starter price tags, instead of $5,000 or $6,000, but that's for hand-done work, folks.)

To wit, he designed some charming white cotton shirt dresses, one with a taupe suede yoke, and another with an embroidered sheer waist inset in a design resembling sound waves. Anything but ordinary, these are fever clothes.

Because so many fine textile mills have  so many of the fine textile mills have closed, Rucci is looking to home decor fabrics. That's how he found a cotton jacquard in a Chinoiserie pattern, which he used to make a crisp coat with a pagoda design on the back.

So much of Rucci's work is about negative and positive space, matte and sheer fabric. One of his most dazzling gowns, sleeveless, black jersey with a fish-tail hem, had a graphic design (reminded me of Art Deco) on the bodice created with matte and sheer fabric. Another look, a sheer black jacket and skirt, were embroidered all over with a block pattern inspired by Louise Nevelson's sculpture.

Meanwhile, a white crepe cocktail dress was a sculpture itself, with a flying saucer-like embroidered skirt, stiffened with horsehair. 

-- Booth Moore

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring-Summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery