Ralph Pucci was once asked, “‘You’re always playing jazz in your showroom, why don’t you do a jazz club?’ I told him all I do is work, eat at Italian restaurants and listen to jazz.”
That was Pucci speaking Tuesday night, at his benefit for Jazz House Kids staged at the Ralph Pucci International showroom at 44 West 18th Street. Pucci’s world revolves around spotlighting creativity and mixing home furnishings, fashion, mannequins, art and photography in a single setting for an elevated experience. At the private benefit, he took it up several notches. His showroom was filled with paintings, mannequins and fashion all by Rebecca Moses.
It was the backdrop Tuesday night for “Pucci’s Jazz Club” where jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, and bassist and band leader Christian McBride performed standards from the Great American Songbook, such as “The More I See You” and “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” Between songs, they talked about how their careers developed, the great “sidemen” they played with, and changing chord progressions on classic tunes to make them their own.
“I felt it would really be a visual wow for John and Christian to play right in the middle of Rebecca’s installation, with all the chairs placed around the mannequins, the mural, the clothing,” Pucci said. “It all complemented each other and became a big presentation. We will do the Pucci Jazz Club again — maybe test it in my L.A. showroom, or make it an annual event here.”
The finale came when teens from the Jazz House Kids played and sang along with Pizzarelli and McBride. Jazz House Kids, in Montclair, N.J., helps students gain “an artistic edge” through music, mentoring, education and apprenticeships. “I was so happy to see all these young students. They killed it, in front of all these people,” said comic Tracy Morgan, among the 160 who attended the benefit.
The Rebecca Moses exhibit opens Thursday evening with an invitation-only event for the fashion, retail and visual merchandising industries.