Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week NYC: Chado Ralph Rucci – Autumn|Winter 2013

When I last communicated with Mr. Rucci, he told me that he was still waiting to be touched or in common parlance… that last spurt of inspiration and motivation. I am here to tell anyone who will listen that Mr. Rucci was not touched, but beaten senseless as anyone who reads me with any regularity will tell you, I am long on criticism and short on praise. So now, I need to ask, “Where does awe fit into the equation?” This was a triumph and a tour de force!

I am not often at a loss for words to explain what I have seen, but most times when I am looking for words, it is due to the fact that I am searching for a way to be less harsh. Well, tonight I find myself in the polar opposite situation: I am searching for words to explain how or why a collection moved me to tears due to its spectacle. This has happened to me several times during my long career, but 98% of the time it was because I was directly involved with a collection; such is not the case with this Autumn|Winter 2013 collection. It is an especially rare moment that I will say that I am genuinely proud to be a part of this industry, but Ralph Rucci’s collection makes me burst with such a feeling which I find somewhat overwhelming. How can it be that Ralph Rucci and I work in the same profession?

Mr. Rucci has explained his art in his own words, and by me, as being evolutionary and he has certainly been true to those words during his long career. I keep thinking, “How does a man reach the zenith of his body of work and not fall off the proverbial cliff?” Well, I got my answer tonight. The mountain just gets a bit higher each season and tonight marks the top of this particular cycle… the epitome of design, restraint, workmanship, and loyalty to his DNA. I am sad for anyone who cannot appreciate that this is what fashion is about- not being the coolest, not being Anna’s new boy, and not being on everyone’s lips. Again, I have said it time after time, this is what designers do, they design! They challenge themselves, they become their cruelest taskmasters.

Rather than blather on about this extraordinary collection, I will just pass on a few words and sound bytes: flawless, more relaxed, new proportions, more forgiving, impeccable finish, unimaginable materials, rich, slick, urbane, opulent, beyond one’s wildest expectations, a sense of color not seen any time in the past, and a man who stretches his limits season after season and just when you think there is no more he can do, well he does it in spades! *** please take note of “the light of hand here!”

I urge everyone to make the effort to see this collection in total, all 60 pieces of it. I was afforded a front row seat to fashion history, at least for me, and if someone had asked … “SO?”.. I might have said what I have only said once before in over 40 years… “I feel like I touched the hand of God tonight!” Yes, children, this was a religious experience for me. | Jeffrey Felner

P.S. The photos don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the detail and excruciating beauty of these clothes

 

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pictures courtesy George Chinsee

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