Ralph & Russo is an international luxury fashion brand known for its designs that are described as both contemporary and timelessly elegant. The brand was created in London in 2010 by Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo. In 2014, it became the first British guest member in almost 100 years to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their first runway collection as part of the Spring/Summer season.
In an inclusive interview with founders, Tamara and Michael, Euronews’ Jane Witherspoon got the lowdown on the iconic brand.
How did the brand come about, what did you want that brand to stand for?
Tamara Ralph: It really grew out of a passion for luxury and craftsmanship and design. I come from four generations of fashion and haute couture in my family. And when we had a chance meeting, it was something that we talked about, setting up a luxury brand. And we always had a vision to have a global luxury brand.
You were invited to join the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, the first British brand to showcase a Fashion Week in almost 100 years.
Tamara Ralph: It was really quite a big milestone and the first Australians ever to be invited. And you know it was always something that was very important for the brand. To be recognised by the Chambless Syndicale was an incredibly important achievement.
We had obviously, the support of Didier Grumbach, at the time who was the president and was actually responsible for discovering a lot of the big names in fashion and nurturing their careers. So it was wonderful to have the support.
How do you personally define couture?
Tamara Ralph: Couture is an art. You know, all of our clients that purchase couture, they purchase it for generations. It’s really something that’s an investment. It’s like a piece of jewellery. It’s something that you’ll pass down and keep forever. And for us, that’s really special.
How have dressmaking techniques changed over the years? How have you adopted the changes? Have you stayed traditional?
Tamara Ralph: So we have a really big atelier, actually, that specialises in the couture side. And then we have obviously craftsmen in the house that specialise in other product categories, such as ready to wear and things like that. But in the couture atelier, there’s forty-five languages spoken. There’s ages ranging from 16 all the way up until the 60s. And it’s really nice to have that mix of the old techniques get more modern applications and things like that. We like to push and constantly innovate. We run apprentice programmes in-house where we can train and develop and innovate as well. So that’s really important.
You’ve dressed many wonderful clients, like Meghan Markle. Is that a challenge? How exciting or daunting is it?
Tamara Ralph: No, I think it was very it was very exciting, obviously, you know.
I think it was such an iconic moment because obviously not just because of the two of them, but also because of her choice of piece for the day, which was, you know, a little bit different to what I think, you know, some people were expecting. And I think that’s nice. It showed her personality. It pushed the boundaries.
Do your clients have much input if you’re designing something specific and special for them, or do you come up with the idea and see it through to completion?
Tamara Ralph: Both
Michael Russo: We’ve had some really diverse celebrity moments from stage outfits for Beyonce to the costume outfits for Angelina Jolie, for Maleficent. It’s been so diverse. So the challenge is always there.
Tamara Ralph: Yeah but also I think with clients, all of our private clients, it’s a very personal experience, you know, no matter if they’re a celebrity or a private client. And, you know, we love to guide them and be part of the process and be very involved.
How hard has it been to showcase virtually?
Tamara Ralph: It was an evolution, that’s for sure. I think that it’s difficult to create the connection that you have with the physical show. I think that was something that was the hardest part to kind of keep, alive. But I loved the innovations and things.
I thought it was very interesting just to push the boundaries with digital, to play with new ideas. But, you know, I think that the traditional fashion shows are still very important and are important to get that sense of what the collection is about, So, you know, a balance of both going forward. I think one is just as important as the other.
Why did you choose to launch in Dubai?
Michael Russo: Well, I think Dubai has got such a multicultural following, and I think for us as well, it’s a product that’s well suited for the market.
It’s got a customer base that’s very akin to Ralph & Russo and well known to Ralph & Russo. For us in this region, it was definitely our first flagship in the region.
Would you say you have a different clientele in Dubai?
Michael Russo: I think in Dubai we find that there’s a lot of tourists here and those tourists are typically Ralph Russo clients already. So the products that we’re offering here are still akin to the ones that we use worldwide and I think relevant to our worldwide customer as well as the local market. So I think it’s a nice little mix of local and international clients.
Do you think that the fashion scene in Dubai is growing? How does it compare to known fashion cities like New York, Milan, London and Paris.
Tamara Ralph: Well, I think it’s definitely, you know, integral to the Gulf region. Yeah, you know, it’s really the hub of the region. It’s so incredibly international. And I think, you know, it’s a huge destination for fashion for the region. So, yeah, I think it’s incredibly important.
You’re about to become a mum for the first time, how is that going to change your work-life balance?
Tamara Ralph: Yeah, of course. I mean, it teaches you definitely to kind of find that balance, which I think I probably didn’t have before. And so, you know, I have a great team.
You know, we have an amazing support structure internally in the company. And we’ll find a way, you know, and plus it might be a chance to kind of venture into a full fledged childrenswear line. You know, well, I’m having a girl, so now we have our first model.
You’re expanding into accessories, are there beauty lines down the line?
Tamara Ralph: What’s been amazing actually through, just before Covid and also through Covid is, you know, a few different things. We were able to kind of reset our thinking, focus on what we’d like to achieve in the next couple of years. And so, you know, cosmetics and beauty is something we’re very interested in. Home and furnishings and everything connected to that sector is actually something that we’ve been slowly putting in the works for a little bit of time.
‘Visionary’ music producer Sophie dies aged 34
Sophie, the Grammy-nominated experimental pop musician and producer, has died aged 34 following a “sudden accident” in Athens.
The Glasgow-born artist worked with the likes of Madonna and Charli XCX.
In a statement, Sophie’s management said the musician had died at around 04:00 on Saturday in the Greek capital, where she had been living.
“Sophie was a pioneer of a new sound, one of the most influential artists in the last decade,” they said.
A further statement from Sophie’s record label Transgressive, explained how the “terrible accident” had occurred.
“True to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and slipped and fell,” they posted online. “She will always be here with us.”
“The family thank everyone for their love and support and request privacy at this devastating time.”
Sophie was also known as a transgender icon, after affirming their identity in the 2017 video for It’s Okay To Cry.
The artist’s management said she would be remembered “not only for ingenious production and creativity but also for the message and visibility that was achieved. An icon of liberation”.
Sophie’s innovative productions drew on pop, trance and underground dance music, mixing them with warped, disorientating waveforms to create a sound that was both instantly recognisable and highly in-demand.
Madonna sought Sophie out to co-produce the 2015 single Bitch, I’m Madonna; while Charli XCX worked with the musician on her abrasive, avant-garde EP, Vroom Vroom and the hit single After The Afterparty.
Sophie’s debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, followed in 2018, exploring questions of identity, non-conformity and reinvention, while expanding her trademark sound with longer, more explorative tracks.
“Crossing boundaries of pop music and chasing transcendence, Sophie achieves the rare feat of making abstract, difficult electronic music that hits you straight in the heart,” wrote the NME in a four-star review.
The album was subsequently nominated for a Grammy for best dance/electronic album.
French pop act Héloïse Letissier, aka Christine and the Queens led the tributes to the late star, whose full name was Sophie Xeon.
Writing on Twitter, Letissier described Sophie as a “stellar producer”, “a visionary”, and “a pioneer”.
“She rebelled against the narrow, normative society by being an absolute triumph, both as an artist and as a woman” she added.
London-based Japanese singer Rina Sawayama echoed those sentiments, calling Sophie an “icon”. “The world and our community has lost a beautiful soul,” she tweeted.
Guitar hero Nile Rodgers said she was an “innovative”, “dynamic”, and “warm” person.
“Heart-breaking news,” added singer Sam Smith.
“The world has lost an angel. A true visionary and icon of our generation. Your light will continue to inspire so many for generations to come.”
After being given the Innovator gong at the Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards in 2018, Sophie used the platform to promote trans rights.
“To be truly deserving of this award involved not only changing the sound of today’s music, but also ripping apart a deeply entrenched and deeply flawed patriarchal society,” said the producer while collecting the award.
“Creating a more diverse, inspiring and meaningful future for us and the generations whose lives our decisions affect and help shape.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55860938
Michael Apted: TV documentary pioneer and film-maker dies aged 79
Film director Michael Apted, best known for the Up series of TV documentaries following the lives of 14 people every seven years, has died aged 79.
He also directed Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist and the 1999 Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.
The original 7 Up in 1964 set out to document the life prospects of a range of children from all walks of life.
The show was inspired by the Aristotle quote “give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man”.
The first 7 Up show was followed by 14 Up at the start of the next decade, which interviewed the same children as teenagers – and the pattern was set right up until 63 Up in 2019.
Throughout all those intervening years ITV viewers became engrossed with the stories of private school trio Andrew, Charles and John, of Jackie who went through two divorces, of Nick who went from jobless and homeless to Liberal Democrat councillor, and of working class chatterbox Tony, whose life ambition was to become a jockey.
Apted’s shows – which won three Bafta awards – have often been described as the forerunner of modern-day reality TV series, giving its participants the time to tell their own stories on screen.
But unlike their modern counterparts, the original Up children tended to fade away from the limelight in the seven years between each chapter.
In 2008, Apted was made a companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the British film and television industries.
Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America, said Apted was a “fearless visionary” whose legacy would live on.
He said Apted, who was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, “saw the trajectory of things when others didn’t and we were all beneficiaries of his wisdom and lifelong dedication”.
ITV’s managing director Kevin Lygo said the director’s six-decade career was “in itself truly remarkable”.
He said the Up series “demonstrated the possibilities of television at its finest in its ambition and its capacity to hold up a mirror to society and engage with and entertain people while enriching our perspective on the human condition”.
“The influence of Michael’s contribution to film and programme-making continues to be felt and he will be sadly missed,” Lygo added.
Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond film franchise, said Apted “was a director of enormous talent” and “beloved by all those who worked with him”.
“We loved working with him on The World Is Not Enough and send our love and support to his family, friends and colleagues,” they said.
A post on the Twitter account of the band Garbage, who performed the theme for The World Is Not Enough, labelled Apted a “delightful, charming soul”.
Composer David G Arnold, who composed the Bond theme and worked with Apted on three other non-Bond movies, said he felt “lucky” to work with him.
“A more trusting, funny, friendly and, most importantly, kind, person you’d never meet. So pleased to have known him and so sad that he’s gone,” Arnold wrote on Twitter.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55597263
Liverpool FC anthem singer Gerry Marsden dies aged 78
Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.
His family said on Sunday he died after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.
Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.
But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.
It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.
Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
At the time, he said he was “over the moon” to have received the honour, following his support for numerous charities across Merseyside and beyond.
Liverpool FC posted on social media that Marsden’s words would “live on forever with us”.
While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.
In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.
That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire.
In a 2013 interview, Marsden told the Liverpool FC website how You’ll Never Walk Alone was adopted by the club’s fans as soon as it topped the chart in 1963: “I remember being at Anfield and before every kick off they used to play the top 10 from number 10 to number one, and so You’ll Never Walk Alone was played before the match. I was at the game and the fans started singing it.
“When it went out of the top 10 they took the song off the playlist and then for the next match the Kop were shouting ‘Where’s our song?’ So they had to put it back on.
“Now, every time I go to the game I still get goose pimples when the song comes on and I sing my head off.”
Sir Kenny Dalglish, who managed Liverpool at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy, tweeted that he was “saddened” by the news of Marsden’s death, and that You’ll Never Walk Alone was an “integral part of Liverpool Football Club, and never more so than now”.
By BBC Radio Merseyside’s Spencer Leigh
Gerry was an entertainer. He loved being an entertainer; he loved people seeing him in the street and asking him for his autograph and the like.
He had a very distinctive voice, and that is terribly important. You knew instantly it was him on those records. He was best on those ballads.
I think he really did them very well indeed. You’ll Never Walk Alone was a big show song that had been around for years and years, and lots of people had done it.
Just before Gerry brought his version out, Johnny Mathis brought his out. If that version had been played on the Kop, I don’t think the Kop would have taken to it because you couldn’t sing along with Johnny Mathis – he had too big a range and too perfect a voice.
But Gerry sounded like everyman and it was absolutely perfect for the Kop. I think it’s the greatest football anthem of the lot.
As well as being a Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone has also been adopted by fans at both Celtic in Scotland and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram posted a tribute on Twitter, saying he was “devastated” by the news.
Marsden’s career began at legendary live music venue, The Cavern Club, where The Pacemakers played nearly 200 times.
The club said on Twitter that Marsden was “not only a legend, but also a very good friend of The Cavern”.
Gerry and The Pacemakers were spotted by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who gave them the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by the Fab Four and Adam Faith, for their debut single.
The band achieved nine hit singles and two hit albums between 1963 and 1965, before splitting up.
Marsden pursued a solo career before the band reformed in 1974 for a world tour.
In 1985, Marsden was back in the pop spotlight when he was invited to be one of the vocalists of a charity version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which was released to raise funds for victims of a fire at a Bradford City match.
In doing so, Marsden set another chart record by becoming the first person to sing on two different chart-topping versions of the same song.
So when, after the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, the other Pacemakers classic of Ferry Cross The Mersey was chosen to raise funds for its victims and a group of famous Liverpudlian singers was gathered, Marsden was again included and was back at number one once more for a cause he held dear for the rest of his life.
Marsden was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in April 2009, an occasion he marked by boarding a ferry across the Mersey and getting out his guitar to sing his famous hit which described the scene.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55524795
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