This year, British fashion house Ralph & Russo will celebrate its 10th anniversary. And although this means that, compared to other heritage maisons, Ralph & Russo is still in its infancy, the strength of each and every collection, and the impressive feats the label have achieved during such a short time, belies that fact. From being the label of choice for Meghan Markle’s official engagement photographs to dressing actor Priyanka Chopra for one of her wedding ceremonies, the house has quickly become a byword for sartorial excellence, especially when it comes to occasionwear. Ralph & Russo knows exactly who their customer is and exactly what she wants, which is why they sit comfortably alongside the world’s most established fashion brands. This award season alone, the label dressed everyone from Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Ana de Armas to Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Bosworth.
Founded in London in 2010 by creative director Tamara Ralph and CEO Michael Russo, it’s a testament to Ralph & Russo’s unwavering quest for beauty and attention to detail that, just four years later, it became the first British label in almost a century to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show its collection as part of the official couture calendar. What sets the house apart from its contemporary is that Ralph & Russo pieces are beautiful, but they never teeter into the territory of art for art’s sake. The fabrication and detailing is world class, and the fit unparalleled, but Ralph & Russo designs are, ultimately, accessible – boasting the ability to slip effortlessly into any woman’s existing closet.
It’s this wearability that has made Ralph & Russo the go-to for fashion insiders looking for faultless occasionwear; and the SS20 collection did not disappoint. As ever, the brand put a contemporary twist on timeless, and traditionally feminine, silhouettes and pieces – serving up a veritable feast of dream dresses. Take the brand’s feather-trimmed, crystal-embellished lace gown. A true showstopper, this romantic piece recalls a by-gone era, however the high neck and body-skimming shape make it feel utterly fresh. This fantasy piece is the perfect choice for a black-tie ball or sumptuous wedding, although, in a dress this breathtaking you do risk upstaging the bride.
It is also important to point out that, while known for lavish pieces, Ralph & Russo is just as accomplished when it comes to creating chic and understated styles. Dressing for a summer garden party or balmy island evenings? The label’s silk shirt dress, cast in a mood-enhancing sunny shade and complete with leopard print, ticks all the boxes. From the balloon sleeves to the gently cinched waist and floor-skimming hems, this dress strikes the perfect balance between elegant and effortless.
But if you thought Ralph & Russo were just about dresses, you’d be mistaken. The label also excels at tailoring. Enter this season’s playful, metallic take on the classic tweed suit – finished with micro shorts. This two-piece might be directional but it promises to work for every occasion, from dinner dates to gallery openings and gala dinners. Therein lies the magic of Ralph & Russo: a brand that creates magical pieces to transport you to another world, but that are ultimately rooted in the demands of real life.
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