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About the Designers: James Galanos, Gustave Tassell, and Ralph Rucci

Woman's "Stingray Swan" Evening Dress
Woman's "Stingray Swan" Evening Dress, Spring/Summer 2001 ready-to-wear collection
Designed by Ralph Rucci, American
Navy silk gazar, double-faced duchess satin, and ostrich spine
Center Back Length: 65 inches (165.1 cm)
Gift of the designer, 2005
2005-96-2
[ More Details ]
Celebrated as a "Dean of American Fashion," James Galanos worked briefly for Robert Piguet in Paris before opening his own firm in Los Angeles in 1951. There he produced luxurious and elegant ready-to-wear clothing until his retirement in 1998. Among his most famous clients were Nancy Reagan and Rosalind Russell. Galanos has received many fashion commendations, including the coveted Coty and Neiman Marcus awards. In 1985, he was honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.

It was with the encouragement of Galanos that Gustave Tassell moved to Los Angeles in 1956 and opened his own firm. Tassell had studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and worked as a sketch artist for Genevieve Fath in Paris. His refined designs appealed to clients such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Grace of Monaco. After the death of designer Norman Norell in 1972, Tassell moved to New York to take over Norell's clothing line under the name House of Norell. When the Norell line closed permanently in 1976, Tassell returned to California to design for private clients.

Ralph Rucci is a great admirer of Galanos, who, in turn, is one of Rucci's most loyal supporters. Rucci studied literature and philosophy at Temple University prior to attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Known for impeccable craftsmanship and beautifully pared-down silhouettes, Rucci celebrates twenty-five years as a couturier this year. In 1994 he founded Chado Ralph Rucci, named after the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. In 2002 he became the first American since Mainbocher to be invited to show with the Paris haute couture.

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