Since meeting in the mid-1980’s, artist Ruben Toledo and Ralph Pucci International’s Ralph Pucci have mingled socially and rubbed shoulders professionally, the latter relationship spawning seven mannequin collections. When the two reconnected at a party this year, an old topic resurfaced—joining forces on furniture and talk soon yielded a signed series of limited editions aptly named Collaboration.
In his Midtown studio, Toledo had his way with existing styles of Pucci tables and seating, garnishing the cerused-oak surfaces with oil paint yet leaving stainless-steel and glass components intact. Now, a landscape of enigmatic faces populates the square side table. On the bench and dining table, silhouettes chronicle fashion evolution, from Romantic and Victorian to flapper and mod. Hypnotic eyes peer out from the console, cocktail table, and chair.
While this marked the duo’s first nonfashion alliance, after so many mannequins, the lure of display proved hard to resist. So Toledo spent 10 days in the penthouse showroom, painting murals that became the back drop for a month long exhibit and a party.
By Mark McMenamin