For Anna Sui, designing a line of mannequins for Ralph Pucci International in the late Nineties was “a natural progression in my career.”
“I was already creating paper mache heads to decorate my store and to display jewelry and hats, but the mannequin completes the image. It was almost like finally having a doll after having the doll’s clothes.”
Sui was among the hundreds of guests that steadily streamed through the Pucci showroom at 44 West 18th Street in Manhattan on May 19 to celebrate the launch of “Show” (Glitterati Incorporated). The book chronicles the evolution of the Pucci business from a mannequin repair shop in the basement of the Mt. Vernon, N.Y., home of Pucci’s parents over 50 years ago, to an eclectic design showcase that now encompasses furniture, lighting, rugs, photography, illustration and mannequins.
Photos in the book, taken by Antoine Bootz, show the works of Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Kenny Scharf, Maria Kalman, Chris Makos, Andree Putnam, Veruschka and many other furniture, fashion and design luminaries who worked with Pucci over the years to create product. There are even the mannequin likeness of Christy Turlington in yoga poses created, for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and mannequins created for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pucci often got designers such as Catherine Malandrino and Jeffrey Chow to dress the mannequins. At its core, “Show” underscores how different art forms are related and can be integrated.
Standing by the wide, colorful mural by Ruben Toledo depicting the showroom’s tableaux, created just for the book launch, Pucci seemed humbled by the turnout. “Some of the most important people in the design, art, fashion world are here,” he said.