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The Closer: Flips and splits of New York’s real estate community

New York Daily News - September 2012

New York Daily NewsNew York Daily News

Ralph Pucci retrospective hits Joe Fresh, Hearst magazines get ready for Designer Visions and “Million Dollar Contractor” is back.

New York-based Ralph Pucci pushes the envelope in more than just furniture and art. Pucci took his parents’ mannequin repair business to a stratospheric level; he was the first to work with artists, fashion designers and illustrators to turn mannequins into sculptures and push the high-end retail shopping experience to the next level. Anna Sui, Ruben Toledo, Andrée Putman, Kenny Scharf and Christy Turlington all created Pucci mannequins.

That history is celebrated over two floors at Joe Fresh at 510 Fifth Ave., where Joe creator Joe Mimran presents a restrospective on Pucci’s mannequins. Dressed in Joe Fresh value-conscious quality clothing ($39 for a men’s zipup cable sweater; $49 for a black and white Houndstooth Dress), the mannequins look sharp. So does the store. The boutique is in the landmark glass-box building originally designed in 1954 by Gordon Bunshaft for Manufacturers Hanover Trust.

The second floor has a six-ton, 70-foot bronze Harry Bertoia sculpture. Mimran’s display team placed a row of Pucci mannequins in front of the screen as you come off the escalator.

“People don’t realize the contribution Ralph Pucci has made to fashion retail,” says Mimran, who sold Club Monaco to Ralph Lauren years back. “We want people to associate our brand with that of avant- garde creativity. That bronze screen is an incredible backdrop for this show.”

For Pucci, who walked the Daily News through the show, it’s a little humbling.

“Looking back, it’s wild that all these artists wanted to work with us,” says Pucci. “I’m young. We still have a lot to do.”

Go to ralphpucci.net and joefresh.com. The mannequin exhibit will be up through the end of October.

By Jason Sheftell