Friday, April 3, 2015


Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin at the Museum of Arts and Design

Conceptually creative or anatomically accurate? In fashion, made-to-order extends beyond garments to include the mannequins that showcase the designer looks. From shape to expression, mannequins adopt a sculptural quality that reflect trends the of the times. Monday afternoon's press preview of Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin at the Museum of Arts and Design, showcases the 30-year legacy of the Pucci Studio founded in 1950s New York City. Keep reading for details...

Collaborations with Ralph Pucci Int'l: Jeffrey Fulvimari "Camille," 1996 (L); Anna Sui "Dolly," 1997 (M); Laura Ljungkvist "Laura" 1998

30 nude mannequins representing 30 years of inspiration become the focal point, without distraction from clothing. A red wall serves as the backdrop for the fashion forward figures, each exemplifying a collaborative milestone along Pucci's career. The mannequins embody 3 decades of changing body types--from adjustable hips to athletic poses. Pucci's handmade repertoire includes celebrity partnerships with Christy Turlington, Diane Von Furstenburg, Kenny Scharf, Maira Kalman and more.   

Mannequins, Installation view

On either side of the second story exhibit area, the show continues with a re-created onsite studio and time-lapse videos of the creation process. A showing of jewelry on accessory display mannequins curated by Ruben Toledo precedes the main exhibit in the Tiffany Gallery. Special programs have been scheduled throughout the run of the installation, including a curator-led tour, two Studio Sundays and evenings where master mannequin-maker, Michael Evert, will be on site to demonstrate the art of mannequin-making.

Kerry Scharf "Swirly" 2000 (L); Steven Campbell "Nouvelle Vogue" 2000 (M); Robert Clyde Anderson "Hamilton" 2001 (R)

At the press preview, Ralph Pucci recounts how his parents started their mannequin repair business without help and grew it into what it is today. He explains how each mannequin is unique, as were the associations connected with them. Notable pieces include:
  • Ruben Toledo's "Birdland" (1988), a half woman, half bird form was originally cast for jewelry, but was adapted to full size by Pucci for handbags and other accessories
  • "Swirley" (2000), an eye-catching colorful fantasy figure by Kenny Scharf
  • "Ada" (1994), part of the Tango series, is inspired by writer Maira Kalman and sports bold colored hair and a distinguished face
If you visit, the exhibit will run until August 30th at the MAD, 2 Columbus Circle. Click here to see Part 2 on the Jewelry Gallery!

Ralph Pucci speaking at the press preview

Mannequin molds in the back room

In-gallery recreation of the sculpture studio used to create prototypes

Mannequin appendages

Video of Michael Evert's mannequin prototype creation

Back to Front Installation view

Pucci's Collaboration with Ruben Toledo:  "Birdland," 1988 (L); "Zen Zen," 1993 (M); "Movement," 1993 (R)

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