Ralph Rucci may have found his ideal method of showing: an intimate runway presentation at his Soho studio. After all, making an emotional impact with private appointments is tough, and Rucci says of his former digs at Bryant Park: "Fifteen-hundred people at the tents—it's a little oppressive for me." The energy at tonight's show, attended by dedicated Rucci-ites like Deeda Blair, Carmen Dell'Orefice, and Iris Apfel, was anything but that. From the first look out—a sizzling-hot lipstick red Mongolian lamb chubby over a sheer blouse and over-the-knee red boots—it was clear that this was no ordinary Rucci collection.
"I wanted to challenge myself, because I'm bored of the formula," Rucci said of his neutral departure. He pushed his new crimson agenda straight for 11 looks, which included a sable parka, his signature lean and long Dalai Lama coat, and a kicky little skin-baring jersey dress. The last of these was sexy, young, and very chic. Not what Chado usually connotes, although Rucci takes umbrage at that idea: "I don't understand the perception that I just make clothes for women over 50," he said.
Well, there were a few things here for that youthful clientele—and not just uptown lasses, either. We could see a cool girl like Jen Brill or Vanessa Traina flipping over the black feathered fox sweatshirt, a semi-sheer tank dress with knotted laddering up the sides, and perhaps even a slouchy pearl-encrusted twinset. And, of course, there was more than enough for Blair, et al. As Rucci grandly stated, "I show a variety because that's what style is. This is not fashion; it's style."