For Ralph Rucci's loyal fans, his fashion shows are an occasion to dress, really dress. Once there, coiffed and bejeweled, they let their appreciation be known, clapping and exclaiming over his talent. Rucci is an exacting designer devoted to the craft. The workmanship of his clothes is apparent, though his silhouettes rarely change. His consistency lends the subtlest new twists more impact, like the nuances he has given an alligator bodice, a pieced dress, or a voluminous coat.
For spring, Rucci played with leather and printed organza, which were peeking through seams and under skirts. A putty-color suit was made of leather and suede so carefully braided that it resembled fabric. A series of dresses with "scratch embroidery" were made of the thinnest pieces of leather sewn on tulle in a moiré-like pattern. Metallic leather insets on suits and dresses were particularly effective on a copper dress on Noot Seear. Rucci updated his signature double-faced wool crepe dresses with French knots and streamers on the straps. The freshest looks were the simplest. Caroline Winberg modeled a surprisingly youthful white silk jersey blouse and silk shantung skirt with an asymmetric hem. A black cocktail dress with a drape at center front and center back was timeless. Two gowns stood out: One, in ombré silk chiffon, had a shark-tooth-shaped leather piece attached at the bodice in the back, and another (the showstopper) was a column of alabaster silk crepe cut on the bias with an attached scarf flowing from the neck, dramatic enough for Isadora Duncan. Following his ready-to-wear presentation, Rucci presented his 26-look fall haute couture collection to a piano rendition of Radiohead's music.