If Tamara Ralph & Michael Russo had something to prove, it is that they can live up to the hype generated by their inclusion on the official calendar and the celebrities they have dressed. A few weeks after announcing a sizable passive investment in their Ralph & Russo label by British telecom tycoon John Caudwell, it was time to reveal their vision of the winter season on the Parisian catwalks, as inspired by interior photographer Massimo Listri.
Like most shows, the illusion works best when the puppet's strings are not so salient. "Their ideology is to reinstate the legacy and fantasy of couture that was spun by the great masters - John Galliano and Christian Lacroix [...]," stated notes included in their show packet. Ralph continues to fiercely hold on to a world of peerless refinement. It was deferential to that vanished era, without an ounce of irony. This was a girl's elegiac couture dreams floating on the mirrored catwalk, just like in books on couture.
But when reaching for the oxygen-rare heights - and price point - that these dresses command, execution must be flawless. One dress was a flared black gazar ballgown, its sinuous hem slicing their air freed of gravity. But one of these ripples felt unfortunately placed, centered on the crotch and broke the visual flow. As the girth of gowns grew, they came to feel as an impossibly elegant way to preserve personal space. A simpler deep violet caped gown felt like a more modern, and desirable, proposition; likewise with the swinging off the shoulder dresses adorned with pearls and crystals. Red carpets and the impressive growth figure they report point to a vision that has merit, and potential. Today, the craftsmanship reached for exquisite; the cumbersome execution, not so much.