How to Work the Sandals

Rescuing Casey Ribicoff



Embarrassing but true, the film National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage, is a standard on my iPad. I have a penchant for a romp through history in search of treasure. I just can’t help myself. I like the hunt, the discovery and, yes, the treasure!

So, imagine my elation when, while boarding my flight east in late May 2012, my cell phone began ringing, my text began receiving and my email signal tolled like a cathedral on a holiday! An unimaginable treasure having been cast off as gilt rather than gold – make that platinum – was available for the taking. The late International Best Dressed icon Casey Ribicoff’s collection of one-of-a-kind couture Chado Ralph Rucci pieces, having been undervalued and cast off by the executors of her estate, was languishing in a Second Avenue resale shop in Manhattan!

Adventure, personal greed and otherworldly respect for the art of my dear friend Ralph Rucci took over. Yes, I let the airplane land, took my meetings (the collection was a hot topic, all New York fashion was abuzz) and then was off to unearth a treasure. Having emailed my list of requested pieces pre-takeoff to the knowledgeable and friendly owner of the shop, I was expected and welcomed 15 minutes before closing.

… And, somewhere over the middle of the country, I morphed from a mere fashion adventurer into a full-blown pirate! Manhattan was to be my very own Treasure Island.

Forty-five minutes later, not having bothered with the dressing room, pride set aside in lieu of speed and quick access to the heavenly garments, I left the shop the proud pirate owner of the gilded booty of Chado Ralph Rucci for Casey Ribicoff.

My plan for what feels like ill-gotten goods is, I hope, more privateer than pirate. I plan to honor the late Mrs. Ribicoff, who I did not know personally, and the glorious Ralph Rucci by donating items from the collection to two museums, where these meticulously crafted works of art belong. In the not too distant future, you will be able to see them in The Phoenix Art Museum and at SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design)

And thankfully knowing, that once my collection arrived – yes, it is now mine (yippee!) – it would be impossible to stay generous, I wisely resisted trying on those pieces intended for donation. As it turned out, very good thinking!

Finally, where can you expect to see the other stunning Casey Ribicoff/Ralph Rucci pieces I rescued that day? On me and my daughters after me. Timeless, perfectly cut and crafted, infused with meaning and intent, they will gain added history and become a treasure for another generation of fashion adventurers to unearth.

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