Although London Fashion Week has a strong focus on emerging talent and new designers, it’s not often that we see an established British brand make a debut on the LFW catwalk.
The first British brand to show at Paris Haute Couture week, Ralph & Russo is a label known for more for high-end couture and the red carpet. Today marked the launch of their first ready-to-wear collection, shown at the atmospheric Old Billingsgate Market, to an eager audience of couture clients and journalists.
Before today, little was known about the direction of this collection but the brand did specify that it aimed to stay true to the brand DNA and heritage, whilst expressing itself as an independent extension of the Ralph & Russo offering.
What we did see today was a well thought out collection of pieces that spanned both daywear and occasionwear. Regardless of function, Ralph & Russo remained true to its couture roots – every piece that came out in the SS18 RTW collection had quality detailing at its centre.
Whether it was the gathered ruffles at the neck and sides of a beautiful pleated dress, feathered ear jewellery or mini studded accents across a slashed shift dress, the couture eye for detail was replicated throughout the show.
As expected for Spring, sheer fabrics featured heavily but in the form of magnificent dresses that were made for a light spring breeze and a Boomerang photo. Blue was definitely a feature – there were both shades of icy blues and rich navy in the collection, but the structured rose gold trench coat and high waisted pencil skirt cemented the SS18 trend for metallics.
How refreshing to see outerwear feature here though. The British weather being unpredictable at the best of times, coats are often forgotten about in an Spring Summer collection but Ralph & Russo presented several stylish options to cover up from an April shower.
There will be plenty in the SS18 collection to satisfy the existing couture clients, many of whom took the chance to get up and close with the new collection at the end of the show. It’s no surprise that Ralph & Russo dressed the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna – with their fashion-forward, feminine aesthetic.
Their ready-to-wear collection may finally bring an accessible level of couture to the ready-to-wear market, if they stick to their couture roots and remember to focus on the refined details that can seriously elevate an ensemble.
With Giorgio Armani and Tommy Hilfiger also set to make their London debut this season, today’s show was a strong sign of things to come from the established players. It’s not all new-gen designers at LFW, the existing brands are still striving for progress and they’re set to make a big impact.
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