The front row of the Ralph & Russo show, which was packed with clients, came across as disingenuous as the collection itself. There was the elegant Academy Award nominee actress Uma Thurman; British pop sensation Rita Ora (who was also spotted at Atelier Versace); and the Arab world’s mega model Hanaa Ben Abdesslem. The British couture house, which is banking on becoming big time, featured a few breathtaking pieces that were exquisitely executed. The inky cobalt blue peplum suit boasted a color so pure one imagined it could have the power to bleed blue throughout the entire hall. The white skirt suit with cowl back was not just a head turner—it had us dreaming of the ‘50s, Vespas, and Rome. And the dove gray organza ballgown with ribbon embroidery waves and lavender gray pin-tucked organza ribbon wave dress seemed lighter than air.
But then there were distinct moments when the craftsmanship outshone the design and created an irked imbalance—the Chantilly lace cape sleeves on the crepe bustier dress were too heavy; the pale pink silk organza gown with tiered layers, bell sleeves, and rose gold taffeta laser cut flowers was too busy; and the model in the apricot-colored dress appeared like she was pulling a live animal behind her instead of a plume train. If Tamara Ralph is to position her brand as having one of the most expert ateliers in the world, every single one of her looks needs to be deserving of those petites mains.