Working quietly and without much public attention for more than 20 years, American fashion designer Ralph Rucci suddenly became a headline topic in 2002, when he was invited to show his collection at the haute couture in Paris - the first American to receive such an invitation since Mainbocher in the 1930s. This sumptuously illustrated book is the first to explore in depth Rucci's life and work, including the inspirations behind the extraordinarily beautiful and very expensive clothes he creates. The contributors to the volume explore many aspects of Rucci's genius and emergence as a master in the fashion world. Valerie Steele places his life and work in the context of modern fashion history and discusses his connections with such figures as Balenciaga and Halston. Patricia Mears closely examines the garments he designs, reveals what makes them so special, and considers influences on his work. Clare Sauro describes Rucci's accessories, which complete the aesthetic vision that his fashions embody. The book is enriched with more than 100 photographs that include catwalk images, fashion shots of Rucci's clients, Chado Ralph Rucci garments from the collection of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and from his own archives, as well as various inspirational objects and fashions.