Wednesday, February 17, 2016

NYFW: The Shows FW2016 Day 6: Ralph Rucci's Triumphant Return With RR331; Chiara Boni La Petite Robe's Pretty Dresses; Hiromi Asai Has a Kimona Just for You, You, You ... ; A Young Lady's Alternative to Bebe aka Georgine

From FW16 RR331, the new line by Ralph Rucci. Photos by V. W.

Some of the players on Day 6: Tory Burch, Chiari Boni La Petite Robe, Badgley Mischka, Vera Wang, Rodarte, Angel Sanchez, Ohne Titel, Alice + Olivia, Gypsy Sport, A.P.C, Coach, Dennis Basso, Tenby, Beaufille, Carmen Marc Valvo, Simon Miller, RR 331 Narciso Rodriguez, Oscar de la Renta, Miu Miu Tales 11, B. Michael, Brandon Maxwell

“RR” in RR331 could stand for rest and relaxed, for that is how the man himself looks tonight. It is nearing 9 and toward the end of the presentation. He is sitting on a windowsill, chatting with a friend.

And perhaps another, “R” for relieved. One doesn’t associate Ralph Rucci with that emotion. He has a persistent air of self-possession that declares, “it’s handled.”

When you have not shown a collection in a few seasons, however, when you quit your own company and go underground, then return to a scene of so many triumphs with a new label (including Philip Tracey hats and Jean Michel Cazaba over-the-knee-boots), then you are within your rights to feel and seem relieved. You are also savvy to pay attention to scale as it regards the size of the collection and format in which to debut it.

And so it is at the Merchantile Annex on Tuesday, 16 Feb., Day 6 of New York Fashion Week: The Shows FW2016. The master craftsman is presenting his new collection to longtime friend and supporters, as well as a few sundry others in this intimate setting.

RR331 FW2016 can be described as ready-to-wear with flourishes of couture. After all, those seasons at the Paris couture shows are a hard habit to break.

As soft-spoken Patrick McDonald asserts when asked whether he’s attended any other shows this week, “No. I don’t need to. This is the best show of the week.”

Of course some would argue the point, considering that Oscar de la Renta and Carmen Marc Valvo are also on today’s schedule.

Yet one understands the sentiments behind PM’s remarks. In presenting a collection slightly larger than capsule-size that leans heavily on black, with a dash of taupe and brown, RR also conducts another master class on how to make clothes.

Others milling about the space echo PMcD’s declaration. These are folk who have seen it all. They are not easily fooled by copious embellishment and other tricks employed to disguise poor and questionable workmanship.

The name, RR331, pays homage to RR's first label, CHADO, also the name of the 331 very splendid steps of a Japanese tea ceremony. In introducing RR331, RR gives unto the world a visual presentation on how to sew well, creating perfectly straight lines and seams. How to use just the right satin, thus allowing the brown-taupe gown to hang insouciantly. Illustrating, seemingly effortless, the intricacy and artistry involved in creating really fine clothes.

Manipulating the folds on a black dress into a shape that suggests petals on a flower. Corralling the collar on the fur (is that mink?) coat into an engaging and attractive lapel. Looks easy. Not easy.

It is fitting that the clothes are hanging in an art gallery space because they are art. (In fact, the designer's own paintings are hanging on the walls). Palpable is the love, care and respect for the form (art and body).

Further, how civilized to place the garments on the backs of conventional mannequins instead of the backs of live ones who should not be compelled to stand for two hours, often in ridiculous footwear with perhaps only one break.

Exquisite hors d'oeuvres and Champagne (not $12 sparkling wine) are being passed around to sustain pleased and impressed viewers.

This evening is a wonderful and welcome throwback to the good old days before the rise of the tents and the dawn of New Media.

Welcome back, Ralph. Long live RR331!



From the FW2016 Chiara Boni La Petite Robe collection. Photos by V.W.


On deck today, Day 7: Michael Kors, Nicopanda, Naeem Khan, Newbark, Biphu Mohapatra, DKNY, Clover Canyon, Theory, Anna Sui, Delpozo, Proenza Schouler, Boss Women, Cynthia Rowley, Marchesa

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: The Shows, including show information, videos and installations.

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