Ralph & Russo create avatar to model new collection

Ralph & Russo have swapped models for avatars for their new collection.Design duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, a favourite of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have used their time in lockdown to explore the world of technology, specifically artificial int…

Ralph & Russo have swapped models for avatars for their new collection.

Design duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, a favourite of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have used their time in lockdown to explore the world of technology, specifically artificial intelligence, which has resulted in the creation of an avatar to show off their latest designs.

“I have always been fascinated by the digital space, and specifically by artificial intelligence as a medium,” Ralph revealed to Harper’s Bazaar. “While AI as a dimension is something I have always been interested in exploring, really it’s the recent developments in the world, and subsequent limitations, that made me feel now is the right time to do so.

“During times of change like this, I feel it’s so important to not only evolve but to also be innovative. I was so excited by the prospect of not only doing something new for our brand, but for couture as a category – something that would really push the limits. And while avatars in and of themselves might not be new, I don’t feel it’s something that has been fully realised within couture, given its inherent nature of old world craftsmanship, techniques and level of detail.”

Next week’s Couture Fashion Week will be a completely digital affair, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

But designers Ralph and Russo have gone one stage further with their avatar, named Hauli, a traditional Swahili name synonymous with strength and power.

“The process of choosing and building our avatar… was quite layered and complex, but incredibly exciting,” Ralph smiled. “It all began with sourcing inspiration, as you would for a collection, to inform what she would look like and how she would be brought to life. I wanted to create a beautiful Black woman, who was inspired by and an embodiment of the spirit of inspirational women changing lives in all four corners of the world.”

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