In this edition of Interview, we spoke with the founders of the important fashion house Ralph & Russo. Tamara and Michael, thank you very much for being with us.
Can you take me back to where you started and explain how you created the brand and what you wanted it to represent?
Tamara Ralph, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Ralph & Russo: “Yes. It really came from a passion for luxury, crafts and design. And it is that, I come from four generations of fashion and haute couture in my family. And when we had the opportunity to meet, we talked about creating a brand of luxury. And we always had the vision of having a global luxury brand “.
Well, in 2013, they were invited to join the Haute Couture Trade Union Chamber in Paris. I think they were the first British brand to also show at that Fashion Week. As was?
Michael Russo, co-founder of Ralph & Russo: “In 100 years. Being the first British brand in 100 years was, wow.”.
Tamara Ralph: “It really was a huge milestone and we were the first Australians to be invited. And it was always something very important for the brand. And being recognized by the Union Chamber was an incredibly important achievement. And obviously we had the support of Didier Grumbach at that time , who was the president, and was actually responsible for discovering many of the big names in fashion and for furthering their careers. So it was wonderful to have his support. “.
How would you define haute couture?
Tamara Ralph: “Haute couture is an art. All of our customers who buy haute couture, buy it for generations. It is like an investment. It is like a jewel. It is something that you will inherit and keep forever. And for us, it is very special.”.
How have techniques in terms of clothing changed over the years? And how have they adopted them? Have they remained fairly traditional?
Tamara Ralph: “In fact, we have a large workshop specializing in haute couture. And then obviously we have craftsmen in the house who specialize in other categories of products, like ready-to-wear and things like that. But in the haute couture workshop. Forty-five languages are spoken. There are ages ranging from 16 to 60. And it is very good to have that combination of ancient techniques, to obtain more modern applications. That is why we like to constantly promote and innovate. That is why we carry carry out internal learning programs in which we can train, develop and innovate as well. That is very important “.
They have dressed so many wonderful clients, we all think of Meghan Markle. I think they designed her engagement outfit. How does it feel to face a challenge like that? Was it exciting or overwhelming?
Tamara Ralph: “No, I think it was very exciting, obviously. I think it was such an iconic moment, not just because of the two of them, but also because of their choice of the piece for that day, which was a little different than what some expected. And I think Which is great. He showed his personality. He defied the limits. “.
Are your clients involved in designing something specific and special for them, or do they come up with an idea and carry it through to completion?
Tamara Ralph: “Both”.
Michael Russo: “We have had moments with very diverse celebrities, from stage costumes for Beyoncé to costume costumes for Angelina Jolie, in ‘Maleficent’. It has been very diverse. There is always a challenge.”.
Tamara Ralph: “Yes, but I also think that with clients, all of our private clients, it is a very personal experience, regardless of whether they are a celebrity or a private client. And we love to guide them, be part of the process and be very involved.”.
We have had a very difficult year. What has it been like to parade virtually?
Tamara Ralph: “Yes, it has been an evolution, that’s for sure. I think it is difficult to create the connection that you have with a face-to-face show. I think it has been the hardest part to keep alive. But I have loved the innovations. It has been very interesting to push the limits with digital, playing with new ideas, but I think that traditional fashion shows are still very important and they are important to have that idea of what the collection is about, so we will have to find a balance of both in the future. I think one is as important as the other “.
And why did you decide to launch your brand in Dubai?
Michael Russo: “Well, I think there are a lot of multicultural fans in Dubai, and I think for us it is also a product that is well suited to the market. It has a customer base very similar to Ralph & Russo and well known for Ralph & Russo. And for us in this region, it was without doubt our first flagship “.
Would you say they have a different clientele here?
Michael Russo: “I think that in Dubai we find a lot of tourists and those tourists are already usually Ralph & Russo customers. So the products we offer here are still similar to the ones we use around the world and I think they are relevant to our customers around the world. as well as for the local market. So I think it’s a good mix of local and international clients. “.
Do you think the local fashion scene is growing? How to compare it with New York, Milan, London or Paris?
Tamara Ralph: “Well, I think it is certainly an integral part of the Gulf region. Yes, it is the center of the region. It is incredibly international. And I think it is a great fashion destination for the region. So, yes, I think it is incredibly important”.
You are about to become a mom for the first time. Congratulations.
Tamara Ralph: “Thank you”.
How will your work life balance change? Because she’s going to be a working mom …
Tamara Ralph: “Yes, of course. This definitely teaches you to find that balance, which I think I probably didn’t have before. And, well, I have a great team. We have an incredible support structure internally at the company. And we’ll find a way … And it could also be an opportunity to venture into a full-fledged children’s clothing collection “.
Well, I was about to ask, boy or girl?
Tamara Ralph: “I’m going to have a girl, so now we have our first model.”.
You will have the best closet. Oh my God. It will be the envy of all your friends.
Tamara Ralph: “Thank you”.
I think now they are expanding and are going to venture into accessories, will there be beauty products in the future?
Tamara Ralph: “What is amazing is that just before COVID and also during COVID we have thought about some different things. We have been able to reset our thinking, focus on what we would like to achieve in the next few years. And, well, cosmetics and beauty are things that interest us a lot. The home, furniture and everything related to that sector is something that we have been slowly putting into operation for some time now “.