Tuesday, September 15, 2009
ChadoRalphRucci has a reality check of sorts.
This collection and Ralph Rucci are and endless source of fascination. His imagination is so fertile, so informed by art, culture,history and a dogged refusal to take the easy route. The energy and passion that goes into every single detail is evident in everything he does. This makes him, to my thinking,one of the most creative and original designers in this country and the world. This isn't news to anyone who's aware of his work. What is news is that with cataclysmic changes in the world and society, designers sooner or later have to re-frame their approach to stay in sync with the world at large. Sure, they will always have their loyal clients and some loyal stores but it's always going to be an exercise in drawing new interest and new business to stay alive. It's also a time where one must push ones own personal boundaries to stay current or even to move ahead of the wave. Spring 2010 is a dichotomy of that challenge and for the most part it feels as though he won a personal battle, or certainly made strides towards a more modern solution.
The very thing that sets Rucci apart are the things that ultimately pull him down. His excessive,neurotic approach to technique are the magic of his clothes.Not a soul on the planet has done more for the art of working out the most complex examples of fabric insertion,double face seaming and the manipulation of puzzle pieces to create a whole. They confound and seduce the eye and must be incredibly exciting for his clients to wear. When a woman enters a room in Chado , there's absolutely no confusion. This is a great compliment to his unique and recognizable style but also a limitation. After several years the look has stayed somewhat static and overwrought. Now is the time to confound and take the public off guard.
This collection in many ways seems to have done that or started the process. There were surprises from the beginning. The first exit was a black blazer, white blouse and trousers. Very little of it appeared to be overwhelmed with mind bending detail. A series of cocktail dresses with simple pin tucks and a fluid shape were simply beautiful and perfectly made. Elegant and modern and ultimately mysterious in their beauty. To see a dress on a woman like these one would just stare at her and not say,"oh, that's Chado...." There were a few sporty suits which consisted of easy, unfussy coats/jackets over sexy simple tops and skirts that just said ,"cool".
Cocktail and evening was also satisfying when he kept the fireworks under control. There were beautiful shapes with a mix of fabrics broken into bands from opaque to sheer and back to opaque that were young, smart and beautifully executed. Obvious quality and value is a beautiful thing to behold. If you have to pay dearly, you might as well get your money's worth. His prices are consistently so high that they've made it almost impossible for anyone to touch. Simplicity married to the best quality may be a way to bring the feast to a larger audience, if in fact that is his desire. I'm not clear on that, at all.
Long evening at it's best was very clean with only the lightest touches of brilliant , mathematical construction. It flattered the model in a way that made it seem accessible to a woman of taste and not just the inhabitants of the convent. The pyrotechnically infused pieces were there and were awesome to behold. They just don't have the same effect as they used to. It has become a recipe,a 5 star recipe but one that is predictable. If the show had been edited by 1/4 it would have been a perfect feast for the eyes and soul. His introduction of beautiful clothes with a restraint of details was the news. The war horses of which he is known could now be the staples left in the show room.