Claire Rubinstein previews Ralph & Russo’s support for “Champions in the Community”
All at The Steeple Times are looking forward to the “Champions in the Community” charity dinner on Thursday 8th November. I’ll most certainly be reporting back with all the news from the night for you before the week’s out.
Synonymous with red carpet glamour, couture label Ralph & Russo are principle sponsors of this event at London’s Hurlingham Club. With a long-standing association with Gina Miller, they are also passionate supporters of Miller Philanthropy, a family foundation that focuses on small community charities – the unsung heroes who undertake vital work at the coalface of the negative trends in our society. To mark their ongoing commitment, we can exclusively reveal that a Ralph & Russo gown to the value of £10,000 will be auctioned on Thursday night to raise funds for the charities that the event will support.
Eager to find out more about this curiously low-key label that is responsible for such high-octane glamour, I met with Ralph & Russo’s brand manager Anisha Tailor for a glimpse behind the scenes at their west London atelier.
Beneath an unassuming façade lies a powerhouse of activity, creativity and craftsmanship – not to mention the most stunning selection of gowns, fabrics, exotic skins and Swarovski crystals. Established in 2007 by design duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, Ralph & Russo is now one of the most prestigious and exclusive couture labels in the world serving an exclusive clientele globally with bespoke evening, cocktail, bridal, tailored daywear and of course stagewear designs on a strict by-appointment only basis.
Each piece is entirely unique with Tamara Ralph drawing inspiration from each of her clients who become her muse for every creation. The result comes in the form of glamorous one-off designs that embody the aesthetic and lifestyle of the individual for whom the piece is created.
Clients include A-listers Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé Knowles as well as international royalty. In fact, Beyoncé’s Ralph & Russo dress, worn at her 2010 White House performance for President Obama, is now featured at the V&A’s latest exhibition, Ball Gowns: British Glamour Since 1950.
Every bespoke Ralph & Russo creation comes as an entire package. It takes around four weeks to produce a gown with a team of highly skilled couturiers spend hundreds of hours on every detail from corsetry and boning to embroidery and beading. One famously intricate creation was even adorned with over 152,000 Swarovski elements.
As clients are invariably cash rich and time poor, each is assigned a VIP client manager to facilitate every step of the process, from the initial sketches and measurements, through to fabric selection and completion. Ralph & Russo even arrange a chauffeur driven car to collect clients for fittings and appointments and have stylists on hand where necessary to source coordinating items such as jewellery from houses such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier. Often, though, the gowns are so stunning and ornate that little additional sparkle is needed! Hair and makeup stylists can also be arranged for the occasion and as a very personal finishing touch, the client is presented with a beautiful hand-drawn sketch of the gown drawn by Tamara Ralph that marks an exquisite memento of an exceptional experience.
With a boutique in Harrods and representation in the couture room of Bergdorf Goodman in New York, fashionistas can fall in love with Ralph & Russo’s inspirational pieces in the very best settings. While we can live in hope of a diffusion line, it looks like we may see a range of extremely limited edition Ralph & Russo handbags in the near future.
Whoever bids successfully for this once in a lifetime experience at Thursday’s event will be guaranteed a piece of couture history in the making and they’ll also be easing their consciences by raising money for some very worthy causes. We at The Steeple Times will certainly be celebrating that.
Ball Gowns: British Glamour Since 1950 can be seen at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL until
For more details about Miller Philanthropy, go to: http://www.millerphilanthropy.com and full details about “Champions in the Community” can be seen at: http://thesteepletimes.com/the-fog/celebrating-champions-in-the-community/