Fall Fashion 2011: Chado Ralph Rucci | Elie Saab Couture

It’s Friday and a fitting (no pun intended; OK a pun was definitely intended) day to end my fall fashion week look at trends and favorite designers. Everything on Friday is happy and good, right?

It is for these two designers.

I’ve rhapsodized about Ralph Rucci before. This is a man who, if you knew him or worked for him, would probably bug the hell out of you because his vision is so uncompromising. If you are a fashion lover as I am and you ever have the chance you must watch the Sundance documentary about his work. Here’s a brief clip to whet your appetite.

It's not exaggerating to say that his clothes are works of art. he puts as much time into each piece as an artist does to the canvas. There is no seam, stitch, pleat, fold, piece of fabric that he has not considered and touched. And like art, while you may not care for a piece who must admire the soul that went into it. Sounds foolish and extreme? Maybe but if I were ever lucky enough to own a garment of his (by selling a kidney perhaps) I would be unlikely to wear it. I would simply want to admire it.

Here then is his fall collection.

The tailoring on both these jackets is impeccable while the 3/4 length sleeve updates the look.

Rucci has most often worked in hues of neutrals so his move into such rich tones as this saffron is a delight. Both of these jackets are amazing in their style and detail. I especially love the pleasted piping on the right.

If there is something better then a pink satin fur lined coat I want to know what it is. I'll never own this but if I did I'd wear it over everything, including jeans. On the right, a flirty feather cocktail dress. Yes, this look has been mass marketed but those feathers are likely glued on and could end up in someone's drink. These are stitched, on at a time and aren't going anywhere except the next party.

These two looks fall into the art category for me. At first glance I'm not sure I get them but I can acknowledge the skill required to drape a silk that perfectly and design a fabric so the line of color falls perfectly from sleeve to hem.

Originally, Elie Saab was not on my favorites list but then I got a glimpse of his couture line and that was that. Love, plain and simple. These are fairy princess, Cinderella dresses. The fact that they are couture and made to order for just that one princess makes them even more drool worthy, except the type of person who drools would not be allowed anywhere near these.

I have to give credit to my good friend Sue who wrote about Elie’s regular fall line which was also a delight. It was her post that made me wonder if he had also done couture. Thank you, Sue.

Final note: for whatever reason Mr. Saab seemed to pick the most miserably unhappy sullen group of models in the fashion world. I get that they’re not supposed to be all teeth but a couple of these are snarling and it’s dreadful. Almost enough to distract from the fantastical beauty of the dresses. Almost.

As the French would say Charmant. Light, shimmering confections in tulle. Almost see through but with enough coverage that you could still use the word demure.On the left a deep V in both the front and back and on the right tulle embroidered with sequins and velvet spots.

My favorite thing about both of these is the coverage across the bust. For some of us that is a flattering thing. I also appreciate his choice of colors throughout this line. The blue tulle is so soft it almost seems translucent. And the soft multi-toned hues of the chiffon on the right feel like a rainbow. Note the detailing on both bodices- this is all hand stitched.

More beautiful necklines and sequined embroidery. What is difficult to remember from the soft floating quality of all these gowns is that the beading makes them heavy. Only the craftsmanship makes them appear to float.

  Two of the deeper hues from the collection. The blush on the left is sublime with the full beading on chiffon from hem to hem. The simplicity of the midnight blue strapless chiffon is deceptive as the bodice has micropleating and both sequin and lace embroidery.

Ooooooo….it’s Glinda the Good Witch and I mean that as the highest compliment. I actually wrote to Warner Brothers when I was in grade school asking if I could have that dress. Bastards never wrote back. Still, this is absolutely divine and the perfect way to close my thoughts on the season. A princess gown. You would have to be happy in that, yes?
This wraps up my favorite designers for fall but if you think I’m finished you’re a silly goose. In the reality of life and unemployment and all those things that MUST be dealt with I had forgotten just how much I love the fashion world so there will be more posts to follow; some practical, some humorous. I hope you check back in because at the very least they’ll be an escape from whatever you’re dealing with right now.

Images from Elle


  1. Catherine, I had the incredible privilege to meet Ralph Rucci earlier this year when he received an award during PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). He's a friendly and very gracious man. A collection of his red dresses were on mannequins on the runway and the tailoring was beyond impeccable -- not a single flaw. My grandmother would have approved! It actually made it difficult to appreciate the live runway show that followed.

    You can check my Maniac Finds Tumblr site for a pic of the dresses.

    I am off to check out your Fall Fashion coverage--looks great!

    Always lovely to meet another lover of fashion, food, wine and books!

  2. These are amazing. I love the rust colour, and the tulle numbers are just divine.

  3. Great posts. I can really feel your passion for fashion and you made it very interesting to me. Thank you.

  4. How did I get this far in life without know about Ralph Rucci? What beautiful tailoring. And I could happily wear the pink satin coat read round. (Except it probably wouldn't well in the rain.)

    Elie Saab's gown are sublime. They're truly works of art, and I'd love to just see one in person. What beautiful confections!

    Your fashion posts have been so much fun!

  5. Karen- isn't it amazing what can be done with tulle? Not just for tutus!

    Sue- now you know- isn't he amazing?! Thanks for the lead on Saab. His couture made me sigh more than looking at pictures of David Beckham w/o a shirt.

    Style Maniac- unbelievable! If I had that opportunity I probably would have stood there and cried. Lucky you!

  6. Hi Catherine!
    So happy to be back in the blogging world! My new role as Department Chair has kept me BEYOND busy, but I think I am finally getting the hang of it.
    Your fashion posts have been making me absolutely drool! I, too, was in love with Glinda the Good Witch (I played Dorothy in the WOZ play a couple years ago- but still coveted Glinda's dress!). Anyway, love LOVE love it all! Fashion advice, tips, news, etc. from you is most welcome!

  7. I've loved these fashion posts. The dresses you've chosen here are just exquisite.


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