Ralph Rucci on Paris Couture, American Fashion and Inclusion – WWD
Ready for a return to the Parisian couture calendar this summer, Ralph Rucci reflected on his career, the importance of inclusion and the state of American fashion.
The New York designer will make his third appearance thanks to the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion. Her last show was in 2019 and her first in 2007. The two-year lag since her last show was mainly due to the pandemic and spending. âI couldn’t put it together to make a video to participate in the collections. And consumer spending, even in tailoring, was horribly over. There was a moral conscience to be safe at home because no one knew about the infections, âhe said.
Without the financial means to stage a live show, Rucci is making a film with David Boatman, who created the documentary “Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House” in 2007, which was part of the Sundance Film Festival. Paul Podlucky will take care of the hair and make-up. Three models will also wear Jean Harris and Elsa Peretti jewelry and Jean-Michel Cazabat shoes.
Rucci and his assistant will travel to Paris in early July with the collection to meet members of the press. It will also be an opportunity to meet clients who come to Paris. The designer plans to stick to the mandatory minimum of 25 styles. âInvariably, your client wants you to take something from your collection and develop it for them,â he explained.
Paris couture’s more inclusive calendar is important, Rucci said. âThey really opened the doors to so many invited members – young people, African Americans, Spaniards [people] everyone all over the world, so that makes it multidimensional, âhe said.
Excited by the fact that Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss is joining the group next season, Rucci said: âIt’s good because couture needs less evening dresses. I have always felt that way. If you look at one of my collections, it’s usually 75% daywear and 25% evening wear. “
Partial hand finishing, spiral stitching and other niceties, Rucci said: âThe effect of tailoring clothes, as I was taught years ago by Monsieur [Hubert] de Givenchy is that it should never appear to have been touched by human hands, âhe said.
His longtime friend Peretti offered wise advice ahead of his death in March, Rucci said. âShe said, ‘You have to do this slowly.’ I said, ‘Oh come on, I’ve never done this slowly in my life.’ She said, âYou have to do it because that’s how good work and ideas emerge. She was absolutely right.
Known for drawing 200 models to decide on one, Rucci said he had to start creating for each season with raincoats or coats. “I do not know why. It’s just my neurosis. Then I can make dresses or jackets – whatever it is. I do some research and think of an idea before I put a pen on paper. I had to let go [of the preconception] that I was doing less and seeing that I was actually doing more because it has more substance than just quick ideas about the possibility. This is how the major ready-to-wear manufacturers operate. Here’s the fabric, make 20 looks and pick the top five, âRucci said.
This fall will mark its 41st year in the fashion industry. During the lockdown âwhen no one was buying clothes,â Rucci analyzed prices. With silks from Taroni, cashmere from Colombo and other primo fabrics, Rucci’s prices are a quarter of those of other Parisian fashion houses. “There’s no reason the world’s most famous fashion house should charge an opening price of $ 100,000 for a daytime suit without embroidery.”
Couture, like other fashion sectors, however, has adapted. But it still shocks Rucci that the couture is âkind of a made-to-order international video with so many houses, but that’s how it is. However, he still needs to “feel the pins and look at the proportions and dimensions he can study”, and in-person fittings are preferred.
But for now, he’s sending canvases to clients in Qatar and other locations, and running a virtual fitting via Zoom or Skype. âI’m on the phone saying, ‘Lift up your shoulder. Take the armhole, lengthen the back – whatever it is. It happens. The canvas comes back to me, we take it apart, create another decent paper pattern, cut it from fabric, brush it on and zip it up for a checkered fit. He returns and the couture garment is made.
As for critics who think tailoring is dead or out of fashion, Rucci disagreed: âI want to know one thing from them, ‘What’s dated?’ Having your clothes tailored to your body can be. entrusted to a local tailor or seamstress. There is nothing archaic about it, âhe said.
Regarding the denunciations of conspicuous consumption of couture, he said, âI am not denying it in any way because of the conspicuous consumption that we see here in this country with sneakers sold for thousands of dollars and diamonds. And the conspicuous consumption of people in their twenties who have nothing to do with these items for intellectual balance.
If a customer comes to Rucci for a coat fit, there are important intricacies of “building the neckline away from the neck in the front, plunging down the back very lightly like a Japanese geisha, lifting a sleeve to that she makes a woman look chic, slimmer and taller. Or have a barrel effect on the back. Everyone wants to look desirable, so adjustment is necessary. This is something my team and I are obsessed with. I don’t do couture collections and show hot pink dresses with lots of sequins and feathers. It’s much better done in a drag show. I love a double-sided crepe jersey with a mysterious twisty cut.
Decorative sewing has never been Rucci’s game. His discreet art is calm. âYou know what you’re looking at, if you know it.
For him, luxury comes down to superb silk coats, double-sided cashmere and fabrics embroidered for days âso as not to appear visibleâ. Evening wear can mean evening dresses, “sexy things” and very dimensional draped taffeta or jersey, he said. Formal wear most often requires adjustments, the designer said. “Very few women buy anything from the collection the way it’s been shown.” On 45 models from the last seam [show], perhaps five were purchased as presented.
In addition to day wear, fur-trimmed items, especially those with mink, are another opportunity, the designer said. Aware of the fur controversy, Rucci noted how faux fur designs require wasting so much synthetic liquid substance to make acrylic. For more than 20 years, he has collaborated with Nick Pologeorgis on furs.
After parting ways with his backers six years ago after a two-year run, Rucci has designed only for private clients and has no interest in remaking an rtw line, albeit something like interior clothing. could be a possibility. “[During the split,] 14 people were made redundant, relations were broken, people were scared, paranoia set in like a disease. It was all in the big family that I created, âsaid Rucci, who also lost control of his brand – hence RR331. âIt was the most extreme shock to see my business explode in a bloodbath. All of this was not to happen. They closed their business, âhe said, declining to name the label, Sies Marjan, which closed last year.
Rucci claimed that top bosses and workers had to sign contracts to stay there. Now he has “all of his people back.” I work with the same great people so life is great. Everything comes. “
Overall, Rucci is enjoying his career more. âI can have freedom. I’ve never had a life before. I worked constantly because of the schedules and the deadlines. I worked every weekend and every night quite late. “
After Thursday’s interview, Rucci later texted, “You can never expect a company based in high art and culture to marry a company on Wall Street.”
Rucci is backing the idea that American fashion is on its way back, thanks in part to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s upcoming two-part show and the return of designers like Thom Browne to New York Fashion Week. “It’s a good thing that is happening to raise awareness and hope among young people in cities across the country, who want to get involved in fashion,” he said.
After giving three Zoom talks at different schools during the shutdown, Rucci said, âThere was just a deep depression among these young people. What are we doing? Where are we going? I think what happens in American fashion will help. I hope that the standards can be maintained and that The Met show is sold out and that there are standards for which clothing can be displayed. “
From his perspective, this means that a design by Charles James, James Galanos or Halston should not be displayed near a style by, say, a John Smith. “You can’t just go surfboarding.”