By Arianne Nardo
BUCKLED UP IN THE BACK SEAT, KICKING DOWN THE WICKED HOT HOURS until being there yet rivaled a thrilling and dangerous game of testing mom's 'I mean it this time' promise with an amusing younger brother. patience has never been our thing. Waiting is an entire museum of scenarios-rare, embellished, deliriously abstract - one of those highly desirable merits that we do not aspire to, rather seek out in soul mates and plastic surgeons. That is, until the fruits of a very gallont labor, Ralph Pucci's to be specific, presented an enticing petition for the slow and steady.
Furniture(one) is the first collection by the New York aesthete; a six piece series possessing an understated, concentrated beauty that did not happen overnight. If Ralph Pucci a superb curator, whose Manhattan showroom arouses both the white hot radiance of a design incubator and the alluring, slow-burn patina of a salon can wait this long into his illustrious run before creating an in-house line, surely there is a moral here for the restless. 'I can live if someone doesn't like the design, but i can't live if someone doesn't like the quality,' he says, when describing the line's genesis, 'The quality of this collection had to be spectacular'.
Devoted to relentlessly, unfalteringly pure craftsmanship, Pucci and his design team endeavored for several years, assembling this vision, carefully refining the focus. Piecing together the elements like an indelible, precious cartography: Bauhaus, early modernism, Mies - all the quintessential roots and influences transformed into the smoky luxury of blackened bronze, stainless steel, glass, wool and luscious sweeps of leather.
Archives were pulled; the stitching had to perfect. Pucci tells of fantastic old horse saddles that bore no physical resemblance to the daybed, chair or table he brought to life in sketches and conversations, but now their stitching was exactly what he wanted. There were numerous meetings to get that saddle stitch right; the selection of fabrics took nearly a year.
No short cuts were taken. Furniture(one) would be fashioned, body and soul, with the expertise of the same studios and artisans Pucci had worked with for years. Surrounded by an already fashionable legacy- avant-garde mannequins and striking contemporary designers- for Pucci it was not a question of resources, rather how to define a distinct, signature look, separate from the pieces in his showroom.
'Because i represent so many great, ground-breaking, visionary designers, I couldn't go their direction,' he said, accounting for certain limitations. Boundaries may be the devil for an artist, and yet he innately knew how to draw out the essence of the Pucci brand, sculpting a 'modern, industrial chic,' a timelessness distilled in sleek, uncomplicated furniture. It would be about textures, nubby wool, the slickness of leather, the certainty of metal and that feeling of luxury. Pieces with a rarefied elegance and no intention of flaunting it.
Tailored and quiet, the line could be described as a fashion collection; and being in New York, where style is felt constantly, where it lives deeper than guilt and longer than happiness, the parallel is somewhat inevitable.
The palette of the Pucci line, with its low-lit, sumptuous, hushed tones finds its inspiration from an unexpected provocateur: Stephen Sprouse the prolific, exuberant Day-Glo color deity. 'Stephen did a collection in his early days to complement his wild shouting of the neon, with very sophisticated blacks, browns, creams, cashmere and leather.
Pucci said 'He did an amazing small series for bergdorf Goodman about 20 years ago. It was something i always thought was absolutely the most elegant chic, understated fashion statement Stephen Sprouse ever did. i just love the richness of that collection.'
It is a visual he has held onto for decades, and expressed (finally) in his own way. The debut of Furniture(one) should feel like a bit of an exhale for Pucci, who humbly admits to being excited by its launch. There is talk of adding a desk, a console and a dining chair, possibly lighting, as the line evolves. Slowly.