Ralph Pucci and Pratt Institute Present “Organic Matter” at Delano


It’s November;  the month where fellow fashion-minded desert dwellers start to lust after warm clothing, not so much for the necessity, but for the aesthetic of it. Woolen garments are brandished in a defiant effort to scorn the oppressive heat that continues to prevail, as if cable-knit sweaters and crocheted scarves have the capacity to summon snow.

If this is something you can identify with, then taking a stroll through the lobby at the Delano will feed your soul, and most certainly satiate your craving for knitwear. Situated throughout its immersive lobby, the traveling exhibit, “ Organic Matter”, features a collection of 12 pieces of wearable fine art designed by students of the Pratt Institute,  in collaboration with design visionary Ralph Pucci.  Flanked against the draped white linen panels that adorn each side of the space, Pucci’s iconic mannequins will invite you in to a delicious, frozen moment in time.

“The lobby of the Delano  was the perfect fit,” says Pucci. “As soon as you see the two gigantic natural boulders in the entrance you know you are entering into an inspiring , provocative , and magical  place. It’s a place to expect the unexpected. ”



Credited with revolutionizing the mannequin industry in the 1970s by breaking away from traditional rigid forms, Pucci is renowned for his high-end sculpture, lighting and furniture company based in New York City and is a trustee of the esteemed Pratt Institute.

For the original show, sophomore and junior students in the fashion department at Pratt (#PrattFashion) were challenged to take an avant-garde approach to knitwear. “The guidelines were set by Jennifer Minniti, chair of fashion design at Pratt Institute, and Susan Cianciolo, Assistant  Professor of fashion design, says Pucci. ” The students were challenged to rethink the form ,function, and design of knitwear as fine art. Our responsibility at Pucci was to select the best most creative and innovative  pieces. My rules  are: keep it simple, minimal, and execute to perfection. I do not like to hear/see  ‘too many notes’ to get an idea across.  We also suggested that the color should be limited to neutral-colored yarn to compliment my mannequins and to make it timeless and calming visually by re-thinking its form, function and design as wearable fine art.”

“ It’s a beautiful way to break the rules”, says Claire McKinney, whose design was chosen to be part of the traveling exhibition. “ We picked up knitting needles with a basic understanding, (…) sometimes our mistakes turned into something great.” Mckinney’s design, comprised of a large-gauge knit tee made of pantyhose and a knit skirt with leather suspenders, is, quite simply, fantastic.



Other pieces include an ensemble constructed of two crocheted spherical cages worn as a headpiece and skirt layered over a crocheted bodysuit, a two-piece evening gown constructed almost entirely of drop stitches, and a shawl dipped in beeswax, draped over a knit corset.




“We were looking for wow factor pieces that ‘broke the rules’ and were inspiring, but at the same time pieces that fit into the Ralph Pucci aesthetic,” says Pucci. Jury members included Pucci, Interior Design Hall of Fame member Vladimir Kagan, and Patrick Naggar. Of the 90 submissions, 27 were chosen;  judged on scale, proportion, line, texture and color.

The exhibit premiered earlier this year at Ralph Pucci International’s Gallery Nine in Manhattan and has since appeared in the windows of Macy’s flagship Herald Square store in New York City and Neiman Marcus’ flagship store in Dallas. “I  think this is a very inspiring show,” says Pucci.  “It needs to be seen by as many people  throughout the world as possible to authenticate that fashion and creativity is alive and well in the US  and to show that amazing, cutting edge, and important  work is coming out of  Pratt Institute.”

Organic Matter will be on display at Delano until November 24th.Â

For more information on this exhibit and the Pucci aesthetic, visit Pucci’s site.Â

Pucci’s book, “Show”, offers an extensive look at his previous exhibits, and is available here.

Photos by Stacey Shively, offtheblvd.com

Bottom photo: Ralph Pucci with Catherine Treu, Â courtesy of MGM Resorts.







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