A true Diva highlight of our whirlwind trip to New York this week was a stop to see the Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Rucci is currently the only American designer who has been invited by the Chambre Syndicale to show his designs at the haute couture collections in Paris. This is no small feat: compliance with the haute couture business model is arduous and costly, and Rucci is the first American since Mainbocher to be so honored.
Rucci’s clothes are not only breathtakingly beautiful but also totally wearable. There are several dresses that Ann, Gigi and I wanted to wear ourselves – and we all have very different body types. One gown we all loved is this jersey gown with a hand knotted bodice. These are just tubes of silk jersey that are machine sewn together for the skirt, hand sewn together through the hips, and hand knotted for the bodice. Utter simplicity, yet is this not a thing of beauty?
A big favorite of mine is this cashmere coat with tone-on-tone hand embroidery in floral motifs. It’s refined yet opulent, and also timeless.
And unless you think Rucci mostly does luxurious pieces for ladies who lunch, this alligator leather day ensemble looks pretty youthful to me:
The F.I.T Rucci show is much better as a fashion exhibit than the current Fashion Show: Paris Collections 2006 exhibit at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. F.I.T. is, after all, a fashion school so naturally you’d expect their curators to have the kind of display expertise required to properly exhibit fashion. Several of the evening gowns were suspended from the 20 foot ceiling, so it was easy to peer underneath and see their inner structure. The lighting was wonderful, and the mannequins, unlike the MFA show, where not headless, which in Boston sort of reduced haute couture to a RTW window display.
There are also *lots* of garments – dozens really – with evening wear, day wear, and accessories deeply represented. The audience is also more informed than the MFA show, obviously. When we were there the gallery was crowded with industry professionals and fashion students either sketching or listening to their professor lecture.
In addition to the clothes, there is a small exhibit outside the gallery of Rucci’s original sketches and pieces from his art collection, and it’s great to see his inspiration in the same context as his couture.
And – the F.I.T. Museum has no entrance fee. Yes – it’s free!
You must go see it if you’ll be be in NYC this spring. It’s there till April 14th.