Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012

Attending a Chado Ralph Rucci show is an experience like no other during Fashion Week; saying it's akin to having a personal shopper at Bergdorf's versus braving a One Day Sale at Macy's does not quite do it justice. For spring, Rucci returned to the tents after several seasons of showing at his Soho atelier, but there was none of the three-ring circus that surrounds the other shows (although I did have to ask a woman and her teenage daughter to vacate my seat); as always, the audience was stocked with loyal clients, many of whom wore Chado to the show and oohed, aahed, and applauded their favorite looks. And the clothes were definitely deserving of the praise. Rucci stuck to a mostly black, white, and silver color palette with a few pale lavender and blush looks thrown in for good measure, and many of his signature motifs—the spine, re-construction, spirals, topstitching—were present. But there was a new, slightly futuristic undercurrent, with clear plastic insets in jackets and dresses, a latex trench coat, and tiny silver pailettes that looked like mercury in motion. There was a lightness to everything, and also an element of surprise—jackets completely cut open in back, evening gowns slashed to reveal a sequined underskirt. It was all so beautiful and joyful, ending in another Fashion Week anomaly: The audience gave Rucci a standing ovation. Well deserved.

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