Big was beautiful for Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, the couturiers who chose Old Billingsgate, the former fish market, as the venue for their first ready-to-wear show. Usually, designers take over part of the sprawling space that overlooks the Thames, but that was never going to be enough for the duo, which counts Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé — and many a sheikh — as clients and whose ambitions are to grow the business into the billions of pounds.
Their supersized rtw show featured a 480-foot circular runway decked with lampposts recalling the Urban Light installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the backdrop to “La La Land.”
The set was meant to telegraph the brand’s transition from couture to urban, everyday clothing or, as Ralph said, the shift from the fantasy of couture to the reality of rtw.
This was no everyday wear. These were look-at-me clothes, beautifully made for big personalities. Consider a long shiny rose gold trench and matching pencil skirt; skirt suits done entirely in silver or laminated gold tweed with painted feather details, and embroidered dresses edged in wispy ostrich feathers.
Those were just the day looks.
For evening, there was a sheer white dress with gold epaulettes, shiny flower print cocktail dresses with pleating and a series of sweeping ruffle-edged dresses in cornflower blue. At the show’s finale, models posed by the lampposts and waiters took to the runway carrying trays of big drinks ready to serve guests.