Ralph Rucci Launching Activewear and Secondary Lines, Fragrance

Ralph Rucci
Photo: Patrick McMullan
Ralph Rucci.

When Ralph Rucci canceled his runway show this season, speculation was rife that his business might be in trouble.

But in a phone interview today, the designer revealed plans to expand into several new categories, with an active sportswear line, a secondary line, and, potentially, a fragrance. "I've realized that not everyone can afford a double-faced cashmere suit," Rucci told FashionEtc. "I want to make other garments that more women can afford."

While the expansion may be a bit unexpected, Rucci says it is the result of a recent revelation on his part. “I’ve had my head down working all these years. I’ve [now] realized the importance of branding.” Of his planned activewear line, the designer commented, “The line will include sneakers that will compare to Puma or Adidas. Hermès attempted a luxury sneaker—one covered in ostrich. but I won’t do anything that predictable.” The sportswear line would also have a low price point, with items all under $250. He declined to comment further on his secondary line.

Rucci also has plans to finally launch a fragrance that he originally designed in 1984 and attempted to launch in 2005, but the unsteady market prevented it. “I’ve had the bottle design, advertisement layout and fragrance ready to go since '84," he said.

The outspoken designer is not a fan of celebrity gifting or red carpet hassle. When asked if this has ever hurt him, Ralph added, “No, never. I was approached by HSN to do a line, but I turned it down. I’ve got to protect my brand and identity.” Would he take the Dior job, if asked? "I don't think Dior is looking for a fashion editor. They are looking for someone to show twice a year, to sell handbags and nail polish."

And for anyone worried that the designer might be straying from his roots, never fear: the 56 looks in the fall collection were in keeping with Rucci's typical decadence. Eschewing the runway for a series of showroom appointments, he presented a plethora of double-faced cashmere, braided leather and a flurry of furs. Also on offer: braided vinyl raincoats inspired by Japanese baskets. But do they go with sneakers? Guess we'll have to wait and see.