Catherine the Great would have loved the new haute couture collection by Ralph and Russo. The Australian couturiers who are based in London pay tribute to a sophisticated and romantic young tsarina.
On the eve of her coronation, a young Tsarina sheds off her priceless tiara and flicks lose her hair. To the audible gasp of the court’s noblemen, she storms out to search haunting forests for her Rasputin. The splendour of her ceremonial robes is the finest coup d’oeil ever seen.
Armour-like tailleurs are encrusted with crystal and pearl mosaics, and dense ogival motifs adorn structured jackets wherefrom grand ovate forms shell out dramatically in the essence of a Fabergé egg. Optical and graphic, the workmanship is a sublime blend of tradition and modernity.
In a subtle demonstration of pure technical wizardry, motifs on elaborate tone-on-tone embroideries – silk and metallic threadwork and ornate micro-beaded floral reliefs unearthed in Lesage’s archives of the 1960s – are meticulously matched to geometrical perfection in flawless tailoring. Even brocades are bejewelled. Delicate as Limoges porcelain, floral silk needlework curls extravagantly into a maze across the body, appliquéd with feather petals – cut, coiled and braided.
As the enchanted tale progresses, a series of ethereal and liberated silhouettes ensue. Air-light tulle swirls and twists dazzlingly, echoing Isadora Duncan’s untrammelled spirit and diaphanous chiffons are fit for Salomé’s Dance of the Seven Veils. Now a staple of Ralph & Russo, this season’s capes evoke the magnificence of ritual, yet they are so delicately light in spirit that they exalt the glory of woman as deity, billowing at times to reveal Rococo heels.
VIDEO: FASHION SHOW RALPH AND RUSSO HAUTE COUTURE FALL/WINTER 2015/16
RALPH AND RUSSO COUTURE 2015-16
Photos: Courtesy of Ralph and Russo
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