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Lady Be Good: Ralph Pucci's Latest Mannequin Gets Dressed

  • PROJECT NAME Inflate
  • LOCATION New York
  • FIRM Ralph Pucci International; Post Modern Production
  • SQ. FT. 15,000 SQF
Ralph Pucci International's line of upscale fiberglass mannequins gets one addition annually. In 2007, for instance, it was Male Sport—described by Ralph Pucci as "Blade Runner meets Mussolini statues in Rome." A year later came Girl, followed by her boyfriend, Guy.

By the time 2012 rolled around, Pucci felt the need to go back to basics. Studying old Chanel illustrations and Mats Gustafson drawings, he developed an icon of feminine chic: Lady debuted at his New York showroom, dressed in fur-centric pieces by emerging fashion designer Brandon Sun, who'd trained at J. Mendel and Oscar de la Renta. "We typically don't go to someone well-known," Pucci explains.

His next step was to create an environment around Lady. "We treat our mannequin shows as we do our furniture shows, like site-specific art," he continues. So he invited Post Modern Production—led by another fashion designer, Sylvia Heisel, and her husband, artist Scott Taylor—to re-create a balloon installation they'd done for a Pacific Design Center exhibition during Westweek in Los Angeles.

The New York version, Inflate, was composed of even larger balloons. Ranging from 6 to 9 feet tall, the natural-rubber orbs towered over Lady—an ethereal white backdrop that underscored the texture and craftsmanship of Sun's clothing and the long, lean silhouettes of the mannequins. "The giant size made the balloons more surreal and dynamic," Pucci recalls. "You couldn't just get off the elevator and take one look. You really had to walk the whole showroom. It was like a maze of clouds." With sable trim.