It was on the first day of couture fashion week when a crowd of Tamara Ralph’s friends and clients was eagerly awaiting her inaugural solo show, almost three years since Ralph & Russo’s final catwalk. The event was mostly intended for her loyal clientele of elite couture-enthusiasts with a handful of media personalities.
We were told that Ralph especially wanted to reward this close circle that supported her in launching an eponymous label. While establishing a new brand is far from easy, Ralph seems to be keen on maintaining a high caliber, one that she has been long known for. Just this year alone, the Australian designer dressed personalities like Queen Rania of Jordan, Adriana Lima, Halle Berry, and Fan Bingbing to name a few. As the creative head of what was once a mega couture house, it comes as no surprise that her latest work has familiar aesthetics that hark back to her tenure at Ralph & Russo; extravagant silhouettes, sumptuous materials and her signature attention to detail.
For the Fall-Winter 2023-24 season, Ralph splurged on fine pearls and handcrafted florals. Twenty-seven exquisite gowns were followed by an ethereal wedding gown for the grand finale. In front of a cheering audience, she walked down the runway with her atelier’s petites mains. And just before the attendees started heading her way, we rushed backstage to speak to the couturier about her emotional and glorious comeback.
ELLE: How did you build up this new couture collection?
Tamara Ralph (TR): The collection came from my heart, I took elements of femininity and made them stronger. The experiences I went through recently have strengthened me and allowed me to become daring creatively. My gowns for this season embody a fearless woman with an alpha personality.
ELLE: And why was it important for you to come back to Paris?
TR: I have only ever showed in Paris. It’s the heart of my work and the center of luxury. I wanted it to be a kind of reunion for people who are important to me.
ELLE: How would you best describe the new Tamara Ralph woman?
TR: She is elegant, confident and graceful. She is femme, but in a way that is emboldened, modern and empowered.
ELLE: You did the closing walk with the team from your atelier…
TR: Indeed… 100% of the atelier is from my Ralph & Russo days. We worked together for many years and we are continuing this journey to deliver the quality my customers expect.
ELLE: Besides the atelier, we also recognised more employees from your previous corporate team.
TR: My entire team is really my extended family, and it was never even a question in my mind whether or not I would look to build the same team when I started again. It is such a joyous feeling to be together, and I am so incredibly lucky to have them with me, supporting me, and helping to bring my vision and dreams to life.
ELLE: Can we expect a Ready-to-Wear collection in the near future?
TR: Plenty of time, energy and effort went into launching my new brand and my debut collection, so for the moment I am very happy to be focused on couture. Ready-to-Wear is something I would consider in the future.
ELLE: Let’s talk about the other star in the room, your two-year old daughter. How has motherhood changed you?
TR: I’ve had to learn to delegate and manage time much better than I did before. She is really lovely, and is always with me when I am sketching. She makes me a better person.
ELLE: Over the years many Indian celebrities have worn your creations. What is your relationship with India like?
TR: India is one of my biggest markets, I have dear clients there that have been with me for so many years. And obviously my partner is Indian, so a part of my heart belongs there.
ELLE: What’s next for the brand?
TR: I do have some exciting partnerships on the horizon in categories beyond apparel. More to come on that later. My ultimate goal is to build a lifestyle offering – so, when the time is right, that will also follow.
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