Ralph & Russo Spring 2016 Couture

Ralph & Russo’s Spring 2016 Haute Couture show was an ode to unabashed femininity, dazzling craftsmanship and jaw-dropping production. Eschewing the hefty, over-embellished and matronly style often seen at couture shows of labels whose specialty is evening glamour, Ralph & Russo consistently manages to master the delicate balance of delivering swoon-inducing drama while retaining its youthful and sensual essence. It was the lightness of the fabrics – not only in their weight, but also in their color – that made this collection seem like a breath of blossom-scented spring air. It was a most welcome and timely showing – one of coquettish beauty – badly needed by a recently somber Paris.

The soft palette of creamy pastels rendered in billowy organza, crêpe, gazar and lace served as the ideal backdrop to the Ralph & Russo hallmarks of shimmer and sparkle. Even the moodier black numbers were executed in transparent ruffles or festooned with fragile three-dimensional petals, waving off any notion of harshness.

Grace Kelly in both her versions – as the Hollywood icon and the Princess of Monaco – came to mind instantly as a distinctly 1950s silhouette was referenced. The audience at the show audibly admired the slinky chiffon robes worn over structured satin bustiers. Cinched waists and exposed shoulders made for a timelessly alluring combination, and the regal trains, capes, sculpted hips and bell sleeves would certainly be appropriate in any courtly ballroom.

There is a distinct difference between a garment that has been encrusted and one that has been embellished, and while designers Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo certainly aren’t afraid of glitz, the refined quality of their atelier’s beadwork and embroidery serves – as it should, ideally – to enhance the garment and the elegance of the woman wearing it.

That doesn’t mean that Monday’s show was without its moments of flamboyance and pageantry – these in the form of outrageous jewels on loan by Chopard, which were undeniably gorgeous, but a bit too forced or distracting on one or two of the exits. Realistically, though, a Ralph & Russo client is likely a patron of Chopard’s, so the match between the two brands was a likely one, made in the cherry blossom-festooned, latticed heaven of the Pavillon Cambon venue

About the Author

A fashion stylist, event designer, and style writer, Lucas Somoza has a keen eye for all things beautiful. Based in Paris, Lucas regularly collaborates with Olivia throughout Paris Fashion Week, producing editorials and contributing reviews of designer collections. You can follow Lucas on Instagram at @LucasSomoza.