MAGNATE OF TASTE

THE Visionary President OF RALPH PUCCMNTERNATiONAL DISCUSSES THE INSPIRATIONAL POWER OF ART, THE BEAUTY FOUND in imperfections AND THE NEXT Big Thing.

WHEN I JOINED THE family mannequin business in 1976, all the other companies were doing very ladylike and elegant mannequins. So we sprayed ours out in high-gloss colors. We went where someone else wasn’t, and that became the design philosophy of Pucci from there on out.

I LOOK FOR PIECES that are unique, simple, timeless and, most importantly, that have soul. I don’t look for furniture that’s been mass-produced; I look for special pieces that have been touched by a great artisan and a creative mind.

FINISHES ARE REALLY important. I don’t like anything too slick. I like the leather of a Jim Zivic piece because it has flaws in it. I like the cracks in a Chris Lehrecke pedestal. I like imperfections. I think they’re quite beautiful.

I GET MOST OF MY ideas by going to galleries. I also visit museums and try to keep up with live performances. Last summer, I saw Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach, and that opera generated a million different ideas for how to present things.

WE LIKE TO GIVE our collections breathing room. I am always inspired by sculpture, and when you go to a sculpture opening, there’s room to walk around the pieces.

MUSIC IS KEY for me. For our Herve Van der Straeten show in New York, we chose Billie Holiday and Count Basie. For Ruben Toledo in Los Angeles, we had a little fun and played early Marvin Gaye and All Green. Music is the exclamation point to the mood we’re trying to create.

I’VE BEEN WORKING with Vicente Wolf as my interior designer for many years. My house is a little more conventional than the showrooms, but “less is more” is a theme at Pucci, and it’s a theme in my home.

THE LAST THREE designers I’ve chosen to represent are not household names—artisan Fran Taubman, lighting designer Ted Abramczyk and glass artist Lianne Gold. But all three are very original, and we’re trying to pioneer people who have something really unique to say.

I’VE BEEN VERY impressed with the spirit of Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, and we’re going to open a new showroom there. Most people my age are thinking about retiring, but I’m thinking about opening in Miami.

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