After last season's seating snafus at the Bryant Park tents, Ralph Rucci decided to use the large space in his Soho atelier as he'd always intended to—as a salon-style show venue. Stalwart fans like Martha Stewart and Deeda Blair were there, as was André Leon Talley, who's turning the designer into a household name, wearing custom-made cloaks of Rucci's creation in his new role as a judge on America's Next Top Model.
Up close and personal, you could really appreciate the remarkable techniques and exquisite indulgences Rucci is known for. Say, for instance, a cocktail number made from panels of black tulle with feathers suspended inside, or another pieced together from individually cut swatches of ivory chiffon, each embroidered with its own guinea-fowl feather. The designer spared no expense with day looks either, splicing wool jersey dresses with panels of asymmetrically hand-tucked taffeta and tulle, and quilting silk moiré and cashmere jackets and coats along the lines of the moiré patterns. They'll cost a fortune, but hey, they're reversible.
The furs, too, were something to marvel at, be it a sable and horsehair coat that spiraled around the body like a slinky, or a younger, hipper style knit together from mink and fox. Young and hip aren't adjectives necessarily associated with this designer, but how else to describe a body-loving, plunge-front floor-scraper in matte black sequins? Rucci has had trouble connecting with the downtown crowd in the past. This show could go some way to correcting that. For starters, now they'll know he's in their neighborhood.