Chado Ralph Rucci is a luxury clothing line designed by Ralph Rucci, the first American designer to receive an invitation to the Paris haute couture shows since Mainbocher. The name of the collection comes from chado, the Japanese tea ceremony noted for its attention to detail, exactitude, sense of austere style, and intensive expertise on the part of the practitioner.
Ralph Rucci, an Italian-American, was born and raised in Philadelphia, and holds a degree in philosophy from Temple University.
At the age of 21, he moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and later trained under Halston and a Balenciaga patternmaker. He launched Chado Ralph Rucci in 1994, and began showing at New York Fashion Week in 1999.
In 2002, Rucci became the first American designer in more than 60 years to be invited to show in Paris by the French Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, and he showed his haute couture designs in Paris for the next three seasons. He has twice been nominated for the Council of Fashion Designers of America's Womenswear Designer of the Year Awards. He is also a painter, who has exhibited in several galleries in the US.
Chado Ralph Rucci garments are known for the minute precision of their construction, their sculptural look, and the innovative use of fabrics such as horsehair and organza. Chado has been championed by New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn, who has written that "Mr. Rucci belongs to the heroic ranks of Balenciaga, Madame Grès and Halston."
The line is also notable on two levels: for still being entirely manufactured in the United States, unlike most other American fashion brands, and also for the fact that Rucci himself remains the sole designer of the line, unlike nearly all other design houses, which produce designs via "teams." Andre Leon Talley, editor-at-large of Vogue, commented that "In his passion for 'old school ideals', [Rucci] refuses to compromise" and Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar, one of Rucci's biggest supporters, called him a "virtuoso." Rucci's named influences include the painters Cy Twombly and Francis Bacon, sculptor Louise Nevelson, Japanese symbolism, and the designer James Galanos.
Rucci's comment on his own line is "I am attempting to dress individuals who know that clothes are merely an outward expression of the inner self, just another language we use to help communicate the structures and contents of our minds." The line is sold at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States, and in Russia and Korea. He also creates sewing patterns for Vogue Patterns.
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