NEW YORK — With his president Vivian Van Natta about to take an extended medical leave, Ralph Rucci has decided to have individual appointments throughout New York Fashion Week in his SoHo showroom instead of a Sept. 13 Chado Ralph Rucci runway show.
The designer said Friday the change of plans made sense and it would result in a $500,000 savings. Known for intricately planned shows, Rucci said the setup will allow him to talk about the workmanship in far greater detail than show notes or a runway show could. “This is not about modern, young or all those other adjectives. I will be able to communicate the artistic references and the techniques that were required,” he said. “And yes, the savings proved to be quite attractive.”
A search for Van Natta’s successor continues. Rucci said he has had to take on a lot of her responsibilities, as has the company’s chief financial officer, whom he described as a private person who prefers not to be identified. That said, the company is not about to rush into hiring a new president. As for Van Natta, Rucci said, “She’s not just my president. She’s my best friend. We’ve worked together for 30 years.”
Van Natta said she planned to leave New York for a year to focus on improving her health.
As for how much of the decision not to do a runway show was financially motivated, Rucci said, “It’s an important consideration when you look at what the savings is. Also, spring is not as big a season as fall is. I haven’t downsized the staff at all, and we own our own factory,” Rucci said.
Another factor is the company’s plan to relocate its 536 Broadway offices to a West Chelsea space by May 1. Rucci said he is ironing out a lease for a two-floor, 14,700-square-foot location that would include a gallery to show his paintings. The company is also gearing up to launch a Web site during fashion week.