Ralph Rucci Departs Namesake Fashion House

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Looks from the spring 2015 Ralph Rucci collection.

Last week’s sudden cancellation of a planned lecture and workshop by Ralph Rucci at the Cooper Hewitt suggested that all was not well in the house of the National Design Award winner. In fact, things could not be worse: Rucci has exited his namesake label. The shocking move, announced late yesterday by WWD, follows a period of positive momentum for the uncompromising and long underappreciated couturier, who has always lacked for a Pierre Bergé or Robert Duffy to take financial and operational matters off his own list of daily concerns.

A post-recession turnaround funded by investors Nancy and Howard Marks and executed by former CEO Jeffry Aronsson saw Rucci’s house, born in 1994 as Chado Ralph Rucci, launch Steven Meisel-lensed ad campaigns in fashion glossies including Vogue, whose editor-in-chief has long maintained something of a no-Rucci policy in her editorial pages, and a furniture line with Holly Hunt as expansion plans–there was talk of a retail rollout and a broadened customer base–were hatched. But Aronsson departed in October 2013 and was replaced in June by Joey Laurenti, who has continued to run his contemporary showroom, Goods and Services, while helming Rucci’s house. It was not a good match, as indicated by the company’s delusional plan to name a new creative director of Ralph Rucci by the end of the year.