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Mixing it up

Modern Luxury Magazine - February 2014

Modern Luxury

Ralph Pucci lands in Wynwood with an illustrious cast of characters in tow.

This is the definition of an auspicious debut: When Ralph Pucci's showroom opened in Wynwood, it was the week of Art Basel; Pucci's good friend, Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest, hosted the debut party; and a slew of designers and artists from Pucci's repertory flew in for the occasion. Fresh off that heady night, Pucci, who began is career with innovative mannequin designs and watched his empire extend to fashion and furnishings, talked to us about breathing space, resisting trends, and the allure of high/low.

What words best describe the new showroom?

Unfussy, minimal and sparse. It's painted white, and on a grand scale. That's so the product jumps in this gigantic space.

So why Miami, and why now?

Miami has always intrigued me. For the last few years I had been represented by someone, and when the contract ran out, I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to create my brand. I realized that Pucci is a brand that has to stand alone. Some of my designers actually might might fit into the Miami aesthetic a little bit better than they do in New York. My gut feeling is that India Mahdavi will be a hit in Miami, and we're doing a little more Ruben Toledo than we've done before.

Was it important to you to choose a neighbourhood with an individual stamp?

Very much so. I love the Wynwood area particularly because I like high/low. It's funky and ahead of the curve, and it has a cool, entrepreneurial vibe.

Why were you so determined not to crowd the space?

These are world-class pieces that need to be viewed from every angle. The quality of the materials and the workmanship has to be noticed.

Was there a moment when you first saw your future clearly?

My father was in the repair business he repaired other people's mannequins. One day I said to him, 'Why don't we create our own mannequins?' So we took mannequins in athletic poses and sprayed them with gloss black, gloss white, gloss gray and gloss red [paint]. No wigs. It became very sculpture. The moment that changed everything was when all the clients in the visual merchandising industry walked in and said, 'Wow, this is new; this is different.' that was because everyone was doing proper, ladylike mannequins. When I saw the response, I said, "This business is for me.'

What does it take to be a leader today?

You have to be true to your vision, and you can't be polluted by trends. If it's truly good work, there will be a place for it. My people are are visionaries, freethinkers. The color of the season is unimportant to them.

343 NW 25th St, Miami, 305.438.3771.

By Drew Limsky