As Oscar week begins, Los Angeles is about to be besieged upon by the best of the best in fashion and accessories design. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the London based luxury couture house of Ralph & Russo, to preview the exclusive couture pieces and have a sit down with the brands president and CEO Michael Russo. Now, you may not be familiar with the name Ralph & Russo, but trust me they have an exclusive clientele and a loyal celebrity following.
Hallman Which collection are you previewing for awards season?
Russo Actually we don’t produce collections. Ralph & Russo is a couture house. Everything for us starts with a hand drawn sketch. Every gown we create is a one of a kind and the only one in the world. When we create a piece it is individually designed with our client in mind.
Hallman So the couture pieces that you have with you, were they designed specially for awards season?
Russo We’re here in LA with a small couture selection of gowns and cocktail pieces that were pre-made for awards season. We are known for our very close and personal working relationships with celebrities, creating very special pieces from scratch. We usually meet with them and work together on a selection of sketches to get them inspired. Then from there we work on the shape, the colors, the fabrics, the materials and the right embellishments.
Hallman Who are a few of the celebrities that you’ve designed for?
Russo We work a lot with Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie and Eva Longoria. For us it’s quite important that we work with women who encapsulate the very idealistic Ralph & Russo woman who’s very powerful, glamorous, elegant and feminine and for us they’re all great ambassadors of the brand.
Hallman Are there any plans for a ready-to-wear collection?
Russo No, not currently at the moment.
Hallman Are there any retail door that carry Ralph & Russo?
Russo We do have a limited retail presence. We’re currently in Harrods in London and Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Other than that our clients work directly with the house and we do have clients around the world in London, Paris, New York, Russia and the Middle East.
Hallman When you work with Harrods and Bergdorf’s, is it exclusively trunk show based?
Russo We do a lot of trunk shows that are very successful, but we are often called upon when a client can’t find what she’s looking for on the sales floor or when they have a special occasion and want a couture gown.
Hallman What about accessories? Any current plans to do a collection?
Russo Absolutely, we have a very exclusive range of handbags that will be released shortly. They are very special and very unique.
Hallman Will they be available in Harrods and Bergdorf’s or special order only?
Russo That’s still to be decided, but I can tell you that the availability will be very limited. www.ralphandrusso.com