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Ralph Pucci International: Mannequins, Furniture & Art

Vigore Magazine - November 2012

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Ralph Pucci gives Vigore! Magazine an exclusive on to what separates him from other business owners, which is his abilities to bring fresh new innovative product to the market place by "collaborating" with the biggest names in design, fashion and the art world with Ruben Toledo, Anna Sui, Kenny Scharf, Vladimir Kagan, and Jens Risom just to name just a few. "In the mannequin world i have a terrific "agent" in paris - who understands and respects my point of view. In the furniture world i have worked very closely with Andree Putman for over 25 years so i understand what magic my European clients expect!"

C.J. : How did you establish your expertise internationally?

R.P.: My international success comes from great partnerships. In the mannequin world i have a terrific "agent" in Paris - who understands and respects my point of view. In the furniture world i have worked very closely with Andree Putman for over 25 years, so i understand what magic my european clients expect.

C.J. : Why a showroom and not retail store establishments?

R.P.: Having a showroom allows me to have a very unique/private world where we can create magical presentations. My space in NYC is 30,000 square feet. An additional 15,000 square feet is devoted to the manufacturing of mannequins (we are proud to say 'made in NYC'). The building is a landmark, built in the early 1900's as a warehouse for the department stores on lower Fifth Avenue. There is a "high/low" element that makes the space seem ancient yet modern which could not be duplicated in a traditional retail space.

C.J. : What should one know about this business that is learned but never taught?

R.P.: To respect the designers that you surround yourself with. Great designers are a very rare breed. They think different. They are not "suppliers" there will be times when things do not go smoothly but they are not factories that mass produce a "commodity" they are artist / designers that produce a unique, rare product.

C.J. : What is the best part about your job?

R.P.: Learning. When your world inter-mingles fashion, art, and design, there are always exciting new projects with exciting new ideas. I am always learning, always keeping my eyes and ears open.

C.J. : What is one thing you are hoping to do with your expertise?

R.P.: I would like to make Ralph Pucci a global brand with locations in Europe and Asia.

C.J. : How does math pay a huge role in your profession?

R.P.: Math? Meaning finance? You have to be very careful in this day and age with your budgets. You have to be very savvy in this economic climate; otherwise you simply will not survive.

C.J. : What can we accept from you this year?

R.P.: We are always creating new work and producing new projects. In the last few months we have had

A mannequin retrospective at JOE FRESH in NYC featuring work from 1985 to the present, participated in a unique show house in Santa Monica, California inspired by the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street" record,

Created a furniture collection with the fashion illustrator/ artist Ruben Toledo,

Did a site specific art installation with a young up and coming artist Jeff Quinn for a Vladimir Kagen furniture show in my LA gallery,

A David Weeks lighting show in NYC gallery which will feature a fiberglass chair that we sculpted in our mannequin studio,

A mannequin show in December with fashions by newcomer Brandon Sun with an art installation by conceptual artists Sylvia Heisel and Scott Taylor.

I am promoting / sponsoring a fund raiser for the musical group VOXARE in my NYC gallery, incorporating the new mannequin LADY as the "backdrop".

In January 2013 we are having a GIANT show featuring the work of furniture designer extraordinaire Herve Van Der Straeten. I have chosen the world famous architect Richard Gluckman to create the installation. All very exciting, stimulating projects!

C.J. : How do you hope people will remember you, when you are retired?

R.P.: Not sure i will ever retire. But i feel i have taken the somewhat mundane world of mannequins and turned it into something very exciting and edgy. I have tried to turn mannequins into an art form. In the furniture world, I feel I have elevated the designers by clean, consistent, exciting presentations to world class / respected artists.

C.J. : What is the biggest misconception about you that, you like to clear up?

R.P.: The biggest misconception about Ralph Pucci furniture is that it is "highlight" furniture /art pieces. I agree my pieces are the WOW pieces but you can do an entire home with the diverse collection I have put together as evident in the sitting room at the Rock House in Santa Monica.

Author's Note: There is definately something for everyone at Ralph Pucci International Showrooms! Upon doing this interview, I have to admit that Mr. Pucci had developed a new fan with me... check his work out and i promise that you, too, will be added to his fan list!

Sidebar Statement From Mr. Pucci:

Mannequins, Furniture, Art. At first thought most people do not see the correlation. My vision though is very clear. To let the creative mind speak and be heard.

My role at Pucci is to put together a team of the most innovative designers, illustrators, artists and photographers to exhibit and sell their work which has been designed exclusively for RALPH PUCCI in a pure, exciting uncompromised, luxurious way. I am not interested in the mass produced product. I want the hand of the artist to be seen and experienced.

Furniture should be simple, timeless and beautifully crafted. Mannequins should be elegant, modern, edgy and hip. Art should make you think.

Through a consistent, clear and creative message: exhibitions, advertising, marketing and professional salesmanship this vision is slowly being understood. I believe there is an audience that is begging for something unique, fresh and original. Something of exceptional quality, something that will grow in value over the years, something that will be cherished.

Commercially speaking, the creative voice has been silenced by short term financial goals. At Pucci, I am committed to giving the artists his true artist stage. The team i have put together: Andree Putman, Ruben Toledo, Maira Kalman, Anna Sui, Stephen Sprouse, Chris Lehrecke, David Weeks, Josef Astor, Kenny Scharf, Christy Turlington to name just a few, are all visionaries. They are leaders not followers. I have been fortunate to appreciate and understand this unique talent and deliver their message to a broader audience.

By Christina Jeter