Chado Ralph Rucci Spring/Summer 2012

Precise public expectations may impede creative evolution, especially when one’s following is as devoted and well-heeled as Rucci’s. Luckily the designer appears immune to pressure and continues to stitch to his own beat. Brand’s stellar reputation for craftsmanship was on full display in neoprene coats, versatile pant suits, and brilliantly sculpted tea dresses. Presented against the signature mirrored background, whites and off-whites in caviar, eggshell and lavender hues appeared radiant alongside staple black numbers. Building the trend momentum for sheer clothing, the designer opted for plastic insets and rain covers. While Rucci’s target audience might be hard-pressed to embrace plastic as a luxury fabric, kudos to the designer for pushing the envelope. And it was not the only surprise up his sleeve. Just when you thought you were looking at another understated gown, the model turned to reveal a wide open back shimmering in sequins. Unlike some of his colleagues this season Rucci managed to organically unfold embroidery and beading across otherwise straightforward classic silhouettes. Other collection highlights include hand-applied ostrich feathers and intricate lacework as accents, smoky text and photo collage prints on tunics. Sleeked back hair and jewelry-free looks kept the focus squarely on the garments. Rucci should take his standing ovation in New York as a license to further stretch his creative muscle. Alexey Timbul

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