Ralph Pucci, owner Pucci International
Nuala: How long have you had your gallery?
Ralph: I came into the business in 1976. I have had this gallery since 1991.
When did you first begin creating manikins?
In 1976 I began working with my family in the basement of our house as a manikin repair company. My parents were very open to new ideas, they weren't afraid to break rules. So after a while we came up with our 1st line of 'active' mens' manikins. At that same time, Calvin Klein had launched his major men's underwear campaign. All around New York photographers and designers were designing active wear and showing a more athletic male. the timing was perfect.
How do the manikens and the designers that you showcase tie into each other?
Every collection has to have a purpose and be relevant. Just as in the 70's we were designing active manikins that coincided with design trends, in the 80's, for example, we created manikins in modern dance poses. We launched that line, dressed with Stephen Sprouse, as MTV was taking time off. Retailing at that moment was somewhat bland and boring manikins began to create the excitement that was missing. There were a lot of young and innovating designers at the time and our manikins went right along side. We're still doing the same.
How did your relationship with Christy start?
In 1990 I was chosen to create an abstract manikin of Christy for the opening of the newly renovated Costume Institute at the Met. I had a long-term relationship with the Met and the Costume Institute decided to change their manikin and make it Christy Turlington. They wanted every face in their exhibit to look like Christy but also be a bit more abstract, even Egyptian-like. So their curator worked with us to create it.
What's new about working with Christy this time around?
First of all, we're working ten years later. And this time around it is much more collaborative. Before, we were working with a curator sort of directing the project. This time, Christy has had input every step of the way. This project has been a collaboration with the poses chosen mutually, and we've worked very closely.
Who is your customer and how do you think Nuala would appeal to them?
Through our furniture, manikins and art we appeal to very wide and diverse group, anyone from decorators to retailers to celebrities. Our aesthetic is very clean and modern, with a simple point of view. It's unpretentious. I took on this project because I was looking at it like sculpture. Like the gallery and our furniture, these new manikins are understated and modern. And we're speaking the same language as Nuala - beautiful, crafted from the best material, timeless, and for many different occasions. I think that our customer looks for qualities in everything, be it art, furniture, or clothing.