Monday, September 14, 2009

Bride of Quietness

Like the poet said, Beauty is truth

And truth, beauty

That is all ye know on earth,

and all ye need to know.

Ralph Rucci, as I have stated here many times before, is one of my very favorite designers. His line is called Chado, which is the name for the formal Japanese tea ceremony. It's an apt name -- Rucci's clothes have a quiet grace that echoes the stately beauty of classical Japanese art.

Unlike a lot of my favorite designers (Miuccia Prada springs to mind as an example), Rucci doesn't drop a lot of design bombs -- his collections are remarkably consistent from season to season, and always recognizable. The silhouette is nearly always quite simple, almost severe, with very subtle embellishments.

One of his favorite motifs is this sort of sheer insert. Other hallmarks include unusual, complicated, detailed seaming and extremely rich fabrics (lots of double-faced cashmere and gorgeous silks).

This makes his clothes both unbelievably beautiful and ungodly expensive.

These are investment pieces (again, are you listening, Alexander Wang?) of the highest order, which is what you would (and should) expect when you're shelling out four figures for a jacket. Rucci's color palette is primarily neutrals and consistent from season to season. If you have the means to procure them, these are the sorts of clothes that form the spine of a lifetime wardrobe -- the perfect pair of pants, the jacket that finishes every outfit to perfection, the cocktail dress that can be worn for twenty years. You don't see Rucci on trendistas, because he doesn't follow trends. Rucci has his own inner design compass that he follows with remarkable consistency and purity. He's not as well-known as many designers, doesn't get that red carpet press, doesn't show up on the cover of Vogue. He just quietly, beautifully works away making stunning, perfect clothing season after season.

The Spring 2010 collection featured several pieces with all these wonderful feathery bits, which you can imagine pleased Style Spy no end.

Just love all that peeping out from underneath the hem, and love the swing-y bell of that skirt. Note also that sheer inset at the waist -- I couldn't find a picture of the back of this dress, but I'll bet the whole thing is sheer. Lovely.

Rucci often features several pieces in printed fabrics in every collection. According to Nicole Phelps's review on, the Spring 2010 collection was inspired by Pina Bausch, the choreographer/dancer who passed away this year and I believe that is her actual photograph printed on the dress above.

I'll spare you my usual nattering on -- these clothes don't really need a lot of commentary. There aren't any drastic design shifts or statements to comment on, just really, really beautiful, finely-crafted clothes.

Rucci's clothes are my aspirational garments. Bargainista shopper that I am, I don't run into his stuff all that often, and even discounted it tends to be out of my range.

Oh, that makes me dizzy, it's so beautiful. I understand why starlets don't wear his clothes -- they aren't flashy enough for the red carpet, they don't obviously compete with the skin-tight spangles favored by most folks at awards ceremonies. But imagine being the woman in a room filled with Elie Saab excess and Badgely Mischka foofaraws, wearing the black dress above. Serene, I think, would be a good adjective to describe you. The photographers might not be climbing over themselves to take a photo of you. But I do not think you would care.

And my favorite, saved for last

Perfect. Truth, beauty, and pockets. What more do you need?


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Deja Pseu said...

Wow, I was previously unfamiliar with this designer, but LOVE this aesthetic!!!! I pine for that black jacket with the cutouts on the back.

StyleSpy said...

Oh, Pseu, this guy is right in your wheelhouse. Head over to and kill a couple of hours falling in love with his clothes. You'll never be the same.

Denise said...

Never heard of Ralph before, either, but wow! What beautiful, beautiful clothes. I think you're right: they're just not "sparkly" enough, and even with all those cutouts, do expose the requisite amount of skin for starlets/the red carpet/insecure women.

StyleSpy said...

Denise -- well, if I have done nothing else in my life besides introduce some people to Ralph Rucci, I feel I have accomplished something!

Belle de Ville said...

I can't believe that I'm writing this but I prefer the clothes deisgned by Posh!
I find these clothes in some weird way overworked.
Still, if that black cocktail dress happened to find itself in my closet..I could manage to wear it.

StyleSpy said...

Belle -- and the earth wobbles on its axis! But you'd look fab in that dress, oh yes, you would.

Tellicherry said...

Oh my. Wow. That knocked the wind right out of me. I am stunned by how beautiful these clothes are.

Anonymous said...

I love this designer. Thanks so much for showing us his newest designs. I first saw his work in Vogue Patterns and fell helplessly in love. So beautiful, such perfection in line, so elegant. If you love to sew and are brave take a look at some of his designs over at the Vogue Patterns site!

Someone said...

These are fabulous...classic and truly worthy of the term "couture" - literally. Great stuff!

(Funny, but the last dress is kinda like the Posh Spice one that was mentioned earlier...)

But what's with the anime eye makeup? Some other designer referenced that too, differently. (Got to say, the Japanese attitude toward females can be very very creepy.)

Toby Wollin said...

Ralph Rucci is to clothing what Chinese pen and ink drawings are to Asian art -- he does soooo much with a limited pallet. Doesn't need a whole lot of whizbang froofroo amazement - I'd put him and John Galliano at two different ends of the same spectrum.

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of this line before, but I LOVE love love that last dress. If only I could rock that shade of orange. I'm a redhead like you, but our skin is different, so while I can picture it on you, I'd rather have it in...maybe a purple?

Kat said...

Hi there! Love that red piece as well! I promise to wear lots of red this fall and winter.

sisty said...

I've been following Ralph Rucci for a few years now. His clothing is consistently, quietly gorgeous. Cathy Horyn of the New York Times has been championing him for years, too. His was the only American design house permitted to show in Paris, which he did a couple of years ago, but now he's back in New York.