Everybody likes a good fairy tale, and Ralph & Russo’s fall couture had plenty of story lines to offer. Set against the backdrop of an enchanted forest, Tamara Ralph’s tale started out with “young tsarinas” storming into the woods on the eve of their coronation, hinting at an act of rebellion — though their majestic gowns would suggest otherwise.
The designer left no doubt that this was an old-school collection for women who attend grand balls in big castles. She sent out romantic capes in pristine white made of little balls of mink or stitched together from blush-pink ostrich feathers and matching fox fur. Everything registered as royal from the neck down to the toes. Sparkling underneath was a sea of Chantilly lace column dresses, featuring crystal, glass bead and metallic feather embroideries — often done all on one dress — yielding impressive floral patterns. Ralph also served a volley of exuberantly ruffled and heavy puffball gowns, for those swept up in the dreamy, princess theme.
Then, with a series of Seventies-tinged jumpsuits, some in double satin with plunging necklines, she suddenly gave her stiff Russian princesses something for a wilder after-party. Light and airy pleated dresses were other options for those late-night disco vixens.