Pulling a one-shoulder, long gold lamé dress cut on the round off the rack, Ralph Rucci
said, "This reminds me of going out dancing in the late seventies and early eighties, places like the Saint, Paris Garage." If that slinky number was a flashback, though, this collection didn't have the patina of the past. Rucci is not a designer continuously on the prowl for new inspiration and new eras to mine; his ideas come from the fabric itself and from getting his hands on it. He's famous for details and finishings that are as close to couture as you can get in ready-to-wear, but this season the focus was less on his signature surface treatments and more on cut and silhouette. Rucci shared that he did a lot more draping on the body than he has in recent collections. That came across in a fabulous capelet dress that was essentially two circles, one on top of the other, and in a sparkly chiffon and silk lamé top almost spherical in its dimensions that he paired with leather biking shorts—talk about a great outfit for dancing. When he did turn his attention to surface details, they were astonishing: wonderful, yet subtle. A cap-sleeved leather jacket was inset with tulle that he took the trouble to pintuck. "I'm always searching for transparencies," he said. Where else but Rucci can you find that kind of workmanship in New York?