“This collection – and my collections generally – are designed to stand the test of time, whilst serving as a reminder of how invaluable the notion of time truly is.” Tamara Ralph talks Vogue Scandinavia through her namesake label's second couture offering
Tamara Ralph’s latest couture collection, presented at the Shangri-La in Paris last week, is an ode to time. More specifically, its nature as a precious commodity. Something the eponymous designer knows all too well. “Time flies!” are two of her first words to me following the showcase.
In the short six months since she launched her namesake brand – with a lauded collection to go with it – Russo (previously of Ralph & Russo) has dressed the likes of Beyoncé, Fan Bingbing and Adriana Lima, and conjured up another masterful second couture drop of 28 meticulously crafted looks.
“It is the one thing we always want more of, but can never have quite enough of,” Ralph says. “This collection – and my collections generally – are designed to stand the test of time, whilst serving as a reminder of how invaluable the notion of time truly is.”
The spring/summer ‘24 collection felt like a very seamless continuation of her debut offering, centred around, in Ralph’s own words “bold femininity and uncompromising strength.” At this point, it’s clear the sense of unwavering strength is simply synonymous with whatever Ralph turns her hand to. “Launching to begin with required strength, determination and tenacity,” she says. “Also launching on my own – which is a highlight in and of itself as it means working on my own terms – also means wearing many different hats, many of which fall outside the realm of creativity. Regardless, I am a firm believer that challenging yourself and expanding upon your skillset or repertoire can only benefit you.”
The intricacy required is highly technical, but it is this exploration of boundless creativity that keeps me feeling challenged - and inspired - as a designer.
Like last time, this notion of strength is expressed through metalwork, but now “in a way that is ever stronger and more amplified,” Ralph says. “The intricacy required is highly technical, but it is this exploration of boundless creativity that keeps me feeling challenged - and inspired - as a designer.” Offsetting these strong core elements – think cages, chains and sculptural forms – are soft pastel hues, jewel embellishments, signature rosettes and ornate corsets converging like tapestry.
Speaking of time, new for this season was a partnership – as revealed on the runway – between Tamara Ralph and Swiss haute horlogerie master Audemars Piguet, resulting in the new limited-edition Royal Oak Concept timepiece. “I have been a fan of the brand for a long time and a loyal customer, and I often chose Audemars Piguet watches to complete the looks I showed on the catwalk,” says Ralph.” Time came to the fore of other accessories too, including a metallic gold bag with a watch face at the front, of which Ralph is “especially fond.”
After proving to the masses – and crowds of international guests that poured into her show last week – that she could maintain, if not heighten the impact of Tamara Ralph's impressive debut, the designer is diving straight back in. “As soon as one couture show is over, I am more or less immediately onto the next, as there are so many stages involved, and I am admittedly a perfectionist,” Ralph says.
After all, time waits for no couture designer. Is she feeling the pressure? “The feeling is inevitable, as there are so many moving parts, deadlines to adhere to and the technique is often painstaking. However, I am firm believer that if you love what you do, and if you are truly fulfilling your passion, it never quite feels like work. I am forever grateful that I am able to do what drives me. It is in my blood.”