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“What’s the difference between mannequins and sculptures? Not much.”

This story first appeared in the May 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

So says Ralph Pucci, the upscale mannequin maker whose Ralph Pucci International showroom has evolved into a showcase for art, photography and home furnishings, as well as sculpture, fashion and mannequins.

He’s discussing how his company is stepping out again by creating 32 sculpturelike mannequins for the outdoor fashion event “Sidewalk-Catwalk,” which will be along the Broadway pedestrian plazas between Times Square and Herald Square from June 24 to Sept. 6. The event is an effort by the Garment District to draw attention to America’s fashion industry and enliven the area. “I always want to take my mannequins a step further,” said Pucci.

The “Timeless Walking Women,” as Pucci calls his latest collection, will be outfitted by Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, Anna Sui, Betsey Johnson and other prominent designers, and in weather-resistant, durable fabrics. They’ll share the outdoor scene with male sculptures by British artist Antony Gormley.

Pucci said his collection is influenced by Constantin Brâncusi, Henry Moore and Alberto Giacometti, manufactured in a foundry slate fiberglass, and in a standard size two and four. “They’re faceless, representing women from all walks of life,” Pucci said. “We were not trying to make it specific. They capture a sculptural aspect. It’s one-piece construction reinforced by giant rods through the body,” unlike traditional mannequins, which have removable limbs. “These won’t be ruined by rain or wind.”

Pucci also is doing the mannequins for Macy’s Madonna shops arriving this summer. “It won’t be a look-alike cliché of Madonna. But it will capture her spirit with just a modern attitude,” Pucci said.

Later this year, Pucci will collaborate with Pratt University on “Pratt, Paper and Ralph Pucci,” a project whereby he’ll introduce the Girl 2 mannequin and students will design paper outfits and paper sculptures.

After representing furniture designers for two decades and continuing to do so, the first Ralph Pucci International furniture collection, designed and manufactured by the Pucci team, will launched today at the showroom, 44 West 18th Street. The collection so far consists of six pieces: a leather and wool sofa with saddle stitching and a stainless steel frame, a club chair and daybed in the same materials and a coffee table, a side table and a dining table in glass tops and marble shelves, and blackened or stainless steel.

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