“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
In an interview with Ike Ude, Ralph Rucci was asked: “What is fabric to you?” He replied: “It’s life, it’s everything, it’s essential”. He declared himself against synthetic fabrics, as these do not have the qualities that his clothes need to have. He also talked about his concern of the small amount of sources of natural fabrics or materials because of the demand, quantity and price. He still uses “extraordinary synthetic materials” to give some effects to his collections but the main core of his creations are natural fabrics such as cotton, silk and fur.
His work also quotes a selected group of visual artists, among which is Francis Bacon (who seems to be one of the favourites of this creative designer). And one of the reasons for Rucci to consider Bacon’s work so powerful is the painter’s use of four dimension and colour. Rucci finds some qualities in Bacon that also appear in himself and his work: some perversions but also, eccentricities, which are so necessary in the creative process.
Distillation and restraint are two words that perform as a constant in his work. He learnt them from Balenciaga.
He understands that people and the press sometimes catalogue his structured, precise, hand sawn outfits as a need “to loosen” a bit in order for the general public to join his already existing group of followers.
He pronounces those people or journalists as, probably, intimidated by his work and he sticks to his fundamental goal of creating iconic pieces that “have to do to where you go”. His garments set a path, and those paths set a lifestyle.
Ralph Rucci is a fan of working with different artists and creative teams from different trails of life. He remembers his work with Lesage Embroidery House in Paris. He also speaks excitedly about how there are more furs in the world than just sable and how he developed fur designs and worked with different techniques to create his famous AW/2010 collection. He then proved that his work is far from being restrained as in restrictive. Far away from that, he filled the catwalk with vibrant citrics and warning reds. Up close and personal, you could really appreciate the remarkable techniques and exquisite indulgences Rucci is known for. He set a high example with the furs too. They were something to marvel at, be it a sable and horsehair coat that spiralled around the body like a slinky, or a younger, hipper style knit together from mink and fox. Young and hip are not adjectives necessarily associated with this designer, but how else to describe a body-loving, plunge-front floor-scraper in matte black sequins? How can you describe a cut-out coat with see through mesh and cushioned fur but as an organic and moving piece of art?
Rucci has had trouble connecting with the downtown crowd in the past. This show went some way to correcting that. For starters, it graciously demonstrates how natural material makes a difference in structure, behaviour and texture of a garment. It also proved that fur (among other natural sources) opens an endless range of possibilities for a designer (artist, creative) and the final wearer (life and/or the possibilities of a different life style). The message was out there; clear and loud; just like his beautiful red, fur coat.
Ralph Rucci has always had an obsession: to make use of the best resources to create a vision of fashion and life that resembles art in the way of how they grow and change continuously, just like us. He uses fur, silk, wool, cotton, feathers to achieve this goal. Rucci uses these materials as the physical depiction of this constant change that is life.
Like an artist, he makes us see this change. But in a beautiful way, enchanting us with elegance and precision and with the undertaking of tomorrow as a vision of hope.