Sunday, November 21, 2021

Weekend Review: Ralph Rucci, the Art of Weightlessness


Ralph Rucci: the Art of Weightlessness
New Haven, CT: Yale UP, c2007.
224 p.

Today's feature is an exhibition catalogue with more than 150 images and essays by Valerie Steele, Patricia Mears, and Clare Sauro. It's called Ralph Rucci: the Art of Weightlessness, and is an oversize hardcover book. Just as elaborate and expensive as his clothing requires! 

There are three essays about his beginnings and way of working, his techniques and artistry, and a finisher talking about accessories. 

Interspersed are large photos of some of the garments mentioned, and those which show off the specific techniques he is known for. I found it worked very well together -- the images are so large and close up that you really gain an understanding of how his ideas and theories come to life in actual cloth. Books are good for this - going in depth and giving you the time to really examine the ideas and images.

I was taken with the way his process was described -- based in intellectual concepts and then brought to fruition in cooperation with the fabric:

"I would close the door if I had to use synthetics," he says. "We have to allow the fabric to speak and synthetics do not have a wonderful vocabulary. When you hear the sound of a faille or the whoosh of taffeta or the oomph of a cashmere or the ahh of a chiffon, there is such mystery! And if you really hear it, the fabric tells you what to do."

This is the first in-depth book looking at Rucci's career, really astonishing considering he was the first American since Mainbocher to be invited to show at the Paris Haute Couture shows. I think you'll understand why after getting a look inside his process, goals, techniques, and exquisite garments. 

You can view the entire exhibit celebrating 25 years of Ralph Rucci at the FIT Museum here

And you can also watch Rucci walking through the exhibit with Valerie Steele here. 


So now after reading all of this about Ralph Rucci, and seeing his clothes in detail, I'm both inspired and intimidated by my stack of Ralph Rucci patterns for Vogue! But perhaps I'll get to one in 2022. Have you made any Ralph Rucci Vogue patterns? If so, any tips?


  1. Do you know, I have never heard of Ralph Rucci!! But it is all very interesting. I could definitely see you in the tan and black dress and jacket. The jacket looks so smooth, hard to imagine how the shaping is incorporated. I will look forward to when you blog about your choice.

    1. I actually first heard of him via Vogue patterns! But I love his designs and that black and tan set has a skirt, jacket and wrap blouse. All very nice indeed.

  2. A while ago handmadebycarolyn made the RR grey dress on the RHS of your photo. The neck line is very low and she raised it to make a beautiful very wearable dress there is probably a pattern review on her website Dorothy

    1. Oh, thank you! I will go look it up, would be great to see one made up and adjusted :)


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