Ralph & Russo Bring the '80s Fashion Rush to Paris Couture Show
The designers showed their latest collection on Monday at Paris' haute couture fashion week.
There's a feeling of rooting for the underdog when viewing the collection of Ralph & Russo, which launched in 2010 and started showing during Paris Couture in 2014. Though the recent coup of dressing Meghan Markle for her wedding engagement photos (and a slew of A-listers during the last awards season) is changing all that.
Still, as the only London-based design house on the official calendar of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, they are the odd-duo out. Australian-born Tamara Ralph met fellow Aussie Michael Russo, partner in business and life, when they literally bumped into each other on the street in London; she's the creative end, having grown up in a family of designers, and he is the business end.
While the collection appeals across the board, the young couple's creations this season court the retro-obsessed younger generation of couture clients — guests like Mandy Moore, Olivia Palermo and Nicky Hilton are exhibit A. The duo looked to another young fashion plate of her time — Jacqueline de Ribes, the French icon who was the subject of a 2015 show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute — for their design direction.
Ralph told The Hollywood Reporter backstage, "She really supported couture throughout her life. She was a very strong woman who loves to celebrate fashion and color." But they didn't stop there, also looking to the early-'80s exuberance of those strong women who possessed a similar yet different form of sexy femininity.
In this way the collection offered something for everyone — channeling de Ribes, who was not only a fashion plate appearing on countless best-dressed lists but also a designer herself — a tailored gown with off-center buttons and high-slit leg; chiffon gowns with flyaway petal-like skirts and plunging square necklines, such as on a red velvet and black glitter column gown, took cues from her playbook.
Oversized sleeves, dramatic shoulder sweeps and bustier-style bodices paired with sweeping layered, full skirts that more often than not featured above mentioned high-slit leg recalled '80s-excess. The rich and lavish color combos drove the point home.
As the duo's creative end, Ralph is undeniably talented in the way she drapes, layers, pins and tucks her creations, which are not for the faint of heart. While the gowns and the manner they swept down the runway fit the HC-bill, she added a duo of short ensembles, miniskirts and pant looks especially intriguing in a light blue and purple silk top paired with raspberry silk pants with crystal buttons up the leg. It channeled another popular era: the '40s via the 1970s. Something for everyone indeed.