111ICONS: TAMARA RALPH | 111SKIN

From Angelina Jolie to Beyoncé, Ralph and Russo is a brand that is adored from catwalks to red carpets and behind the force is Co-Founders Tamara Ralph & Michael Russo. With upcoming launches in the pipelines, wellness routines bursting with benefits and hydration obsessed, we spend some time with Tamara Ralph.

111SKIN champions and celebrates game changers and innovators in leading industries. Each discussion uncovers the insight and knowledge into their individual approach and within the 111ICONS interview, we share their journey, business and approach to life.

Fourth generation in her family to marvel in couture and fashion design, Tamara Ralph has been designing from as young as she can remember. With her first client at 15 and her brand, co-founded with Michael Russo, making waves in Couture Fashion Week four years after forming. Ralph & Russo has graced fashion weeks, red carpets and dressed stars like Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé and Kylie Jenner.

NS: IT’S LOVELY TO GET SOME TIME WITH YOU AND WITH THAT BEING SAID, CAN YOU EXPLAIN YOUR ROLE AT RALPH & RUSSO?

TR: Of course! Well I am the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Ralph & Russo. I work across every creative touchpoint of the brand from couture to ready-to-wear to our retail concepts to ensure every touchpoint of the client journey is a seamless experience and true to the ethos of the brand.

NS: HOW DID THAT DEVELOP, CAN YOU SHARE A BACKGROUND INTO YOUR CAREER?

TR: I was born into a creative family, with four generations of couturiers. I discovered my passion for creativity at a young age and began designing and creating garments from home, with the help and watchful eye of my mother and my grandmother – who instilled in me my knowledge of fashion and design. My grandmother in particular was instrumental in my career, as she was incredibly thorough and strict – she would sometimes make me unpick every stitch and begin again, if she didn’t feel it was the best I could do.

NS: SO, IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT DESIGNING IS IN YOUR BLOOD?

TR: Absolutely! I secured my first client around the age of 15 and, from there, started developing private collections. The private collection grew when I moved to London and met Michael, and just four years into Ralph & Russo we were invited to show at Paris Haute Couture week. From here the brand really propelled on a global level.

NS: AS THE BRAND HAS GROWN, WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON AND WHY?

TR: I think one of my favourite projects was designing the costumes for Maleficent 2. Angelina Jolie is a dear friend and has been supportive of the brand from the start, so when she suggested to Disney, we create the costume for the second instalment of Maleficent it was an honour. Having said that, every collection, whether it be couture or ready-to-wear, is always unique and exciting for a variety of different reasons. I truly love what I do, so it’s impossible to choose just one!

NS: LOOKING FROM THE PAST TO THE FUTURE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?

TR: The plan for us has always been to create a global luxury lifestyle brand, but it’s a slow build. We started at the pinnacle of luxury, with couture, and have since moved on to ready-to-wear, footwear and leather goods, and now it’s really about us building beyond that; whether it be sunglasses or skincare, but all good things take time.

NS: SPEAKING OF SKINCARE, WHAT IS YOUR MORNING BEAUTY ROUTINE?

TR: I love a good 10-minute face mask in the morning to freshen up my complexion, the 111SKIN Celestial Black Diamond Lifting and Firming Mask is one of my favourites for this – it’s perfect for firming. I’m quite thorough in that I always cleanse, tone and moisturise. Having said that, I love to trial all the latest trends and products, so I sometimes mix it up.

Being Australian, and also with skincare being enormously important to me, I am very conscious of the sun and make it a point to apply sunscreen on a daily basis. If I’m away on holiday, I add an oversized, floppy hat as well to ensure I’m really protected. For my hair I tend to get a blow-dry twice a week. I have quite thick hair, so it’s harder to do by myself.

NS: DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFICS FOR THE EVENING?

TR: In terms of an evening routine, I never go to bed without fully removing all make up and applying my evening serums and creams. I’m a big fan of beauty products from South Korea and Japan and depending on how my skin feels at the end of the day, I will adjust my skincare accordingly; if it’s dry, I will use a bit more of a heavy moisturiser, if my skin is oily, I will use something with Hydrogen or Retinol that’s a bit lighter. Further to this, I love Rejuventaed’s H3O Night Repair, it has a unique blend of potent herbs and antioxidants with super hydration while you sleep, providing your skin with all the nutrition it needs.

NS: SPEAKING OF PRODUCTS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF, WHAT ARE THE SIGNATURE PRODUCTS THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?

TR: Right now, with the world seemingly working from home, one of my go-to looks is our Ralph & Russo tie-dye tracksuit. As far as beauty products go, I would have to say my perfume by Xerjoff is pretty signature. I also love the entire 111SKIN Intensive Range, from the Vitamin C Brightening Booster to the Celestial Black Diamond Eye Serum!

VITAMIN C BRIGHTENING BOOSTER

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND EYE CREAM

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND SERUM

CELESTIAL BLACK DIAMOND CONTOUR GEL

NS: OUTSIDE OF BEAUTY, DO YOU HAVE ANY WELLNESS HABITS THAT YOU IMPLEMENT INTO YOUR ROUTINE?

TR: I’m a big fan of beauty from within, in all senses. I try to drink at least 3L of water a day. I also make sure I have my ionized alkaline water to balance my body’s pH levels. I often avoid coffee when I want to reset my system and I will add chia seeds to my green tea – they have some amazing benefits and properties, plus help to keep you feeling full.

NS: I CAN’T HELP THINKING ABOUT FITNESS WHEN WE DISCUSS WELLNESS, DO YOU HAVE ANY FITNESS ROUTINES ALSO?

TR: As of lately I have been really into Ballet Barre. I find it’s great for strengthening and toning. Furthermore, it’s something you can continue in the comfort of your own home. I find that right now a routine is more important than ever, so I start each day with a workout – which sets the right tone for my day.

NS: DO YOU HAVE ANY ON-THE-GO ESSENTIALS?

TR: I always make sure to have powder for touch ups and a hydrogen face mist in my handbag to stay hydrated. One of my ‘on the go’ essential products right now are my Ralph & Russo slides; they are perfect for indoor to outdoor comfort.

NS: I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW HECTIC YOUR DAY-TO-DAY SCHEDULE IS, HOW DO YOU WIND DOWN IN THE EVENINGS?

TR: I often write a to do list and use the time to catch up on unread emails. I also enjoy sketching, and watercolour painting, which is how I’m spending a lot of my evenings as of late – but I love it.

NS: YOUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION?

TR: I went to Cambodia for the first time over Christmas. Aside from the beauty, the preserved culture untouched by tourism stole my heart.

NS: AS A FASHION DESIGNER, WHAT IS YOUR STANCE AND THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY?

TR: It’s clear that the current climate will cause it to slow down, which is ultimately a positive change. I believe fast fashion will be reconsidered, and consumers will start to become a lot more conscious of their purchases; including both the quality and longevity.

Digital has always played an important role within the industry, but now more than ever it has become the focus. Personal shopping apps, AR technology, animation; all of these areas will continue to grow.

NS: WITH THAT BEING SAID, OUTSIDE OF FASHION, WHAT OTHER INDUSTRIES ARE YOU INTO?

TR: I have always loved the automotive industry. We actually have a very exciting partnership coming up which I can’t wait to share, so watch this space!

NS: FINALLY, THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

TR: Be true to yourself, follow your passion and never give up! Also – don’t sweat the small stuff!

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