Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

London-based couture house Ralph and Russo presented a unique digital experience for its first virtual couture collection presentation during Paris Haute Couture Week, highlighting craftsmanship through a number of digitised looks on its custom brand avatar as well as real-life designs.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

What was incredible about Ralph and Russo’s digital presentation was how difficult it was to tell the difference between the real-life couture designs and the digital couture brought to life by avatar, and “muse,” Hauli, a Swahili word meaning strength and power, who looked striking in couture gowns adorned with pixelated flowers and masses of tulle.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

The showcase was much more than just a new collection reveal, the film illustrated the journey behind the season through lockdown, the experience of how to bring to life the collection, from sketching to patterning cutting and embroidery in the atelier, as well as the inspiration behind the autumn/winter 2020-21 haute couture collection from creative director Tamara Ralph.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

The couture house describes the collection as a reflection on the “far-reaching beauty of our natural world and the digitally charged future,” with a collection inspired by the Seven Wonders of the World.

In the film, Tamara Ralph, explained: “I feel with the lockdown period we had to readjust our inspiration this season. We wanted to look at the environment, as well as travel in itself and some of the most special places in the world. So we looked to the Seven Wonders of the World to delve into the cultures of some of these different countries, and look at the colour and the vibrancy that celebrates them as a culture.”

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

This formed a collection inspired by florals and nature, filled with vibrant tones of yellow-gold and sky blue, hues of lavender and fuchsia pink, to evoke the “natural palette of our planet”. This was achieved by enhancing silhouettes with intricate floral details, from three-dimensional organza blooms to swathes of floral taffeta and tweed, which were each distorted, blurred like watercolours, and digitally printed.

So, as well as the digital model, with the brands very own avatar, the collection itself also bridges the gap between technology and fashion.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

“Digital has always been something that I’ve found fascinating and something as a brand we’ve really seen as an interesting angle to infuse the tradition of couture with modern aspects,” added Ralph. “With the current situation this season it really forced us to look at new ways of showcasing our work.”

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

Ralph and Russo inspired by the Seven Wonders of the World for autumn/winter 2020-21 couture

Highlights included billowing pastel tulle gowns, a white silk crepe column gown featuring an oversized bow hip bustle and exposed bow-embellished back, a pale sapphire blue illusion tulle mini dress with voluminous sleeves and embellishments, multi-coloured floral silk chiffon gowns, a bubblegum pink silk tailored suit featuring an off-the-shoulder neckline, jewelled buttons and statement pockets embellished with crystal, and a dramatic chrome yellow silk taffeta ballgown with deconstructed bow detailing.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

The presentation also showcased some interesting context on the current pandemic climate, from footage of masked make-up artists working with the models, to how Ralph and Russo have adapted to working during lockdown, while all the creatives have been working remotely, as well as the importance of staying connected as a team to “keep them inspired,” explained Ralph.

Ralph and Russo bring avatars to couture

Images: courtesy of Ralph and Russo

 

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