Chado Ralph Rucci and Karl Lagerfeld: The two shows that closed out New York fashion week represented opposite ends of the fashion spectrum. Lagerfeld, who showed downtown, values youth and change; uptown, Rucci honored, as always, seriousness and consistency. Each designer has his groupies, with Martha Stewart front-row for Rucci's fall collection.
Chado is never about big surprises or theatrics, with seasons mostly distinguished by whichever virtuoso technique Rucci happens to have focused on, and how he applies it to familiar silhouettes. Thus, fall was about woven cane, perforated leathers, and tone-on-tone embroidery. And that's enough, because the workmanship of these clothes is truly marvelous, and always worth coming back for. Take, for example, the opening look: an openwork jacket with layered pieces of lambskin appliquéd in a tortoiseshell pattern. Or a floor-length sable with a hand-woven cane coat worn over it like a cage. Strange, and amazing. Furs were luxe to the max: Imagine sable dyed blue and worked into an anorak, or honey-colored and wrapped around the body like a cocoon. Rucci's most youthful pieces tend to be his jersey and crepe dresses; for fall, they were pieced and in a harlequin pattern, some worn with Dean Harris' dramatic jewelry. But the evening's showstopper was an off-the-shoulder black velvet gown fit for a modern Madame X.
Fall 2006 Ready-to-Wear
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