New Design by Hand Series of Public Programs Spotlights Fashion Designer Ralph Rucci

Supported by Van Cleef & Arpels, Museum Hosts Lecture and Series of Hands-on Workshops for Teens, College Students and Adults
October 24, 2014
News Release

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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum presents the third installment of its Design by Hand series Nov. 4–8 with world-renowned fashion designer Ralph Rucci. The series, which highlights the craftsmanship, innovations and merits of pioneering designers, will feature a keynote lecture by Rucci and a series of workshops for all ages emphasizing the role of hand craftsmanship in design.

“Launched in fall 2013 with Marimekko, thanks to Van Cleef & Arpels’s generosity and support, the Design by Hand series is an enormously popular program and provides a meaningful way for the public to interact with some of the biggest names in design,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “It is empowering for the participants to explore how they might apply their individual, personal approach to the creative process. We are greatly honored to welcome Ralph Rucci, National Design Award winner, and his design team to Cooper Hewitt for what promises to be an inspiring week of programs for all ages.”

Known for his architectural construction, innovative cutting and seaming, and exquisite hand craftsmanship, fashion designer and 2008 National Design Award–winner Rucci launched his label Chado Ralph Rucci in 1994. His New York atelier is a laboratory where, each season, Rucci explores new advances in fabric technology while continuing to incorporate and preserve traditional studio handwork techniques. In 2008, his work was the subject of the exhibition “Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness” at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. In 2010, his craftsmanship was featured in the Cooper Hewitt exhibition “Design USA,” which explored the first 10 years of the National Design Awards. The lush monograph Ralph Rucci: Autobiography of a Fashion Designer was released in hardcover last year.

The Design by Hand lecture by Rucci will be followed by a conversation with Deputy Director Brooke Hodge and a Q&A with the audience. It will take place in the Great Hall at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2 E 91st St., New York, Nov. 4, prior to the museum’s official reopening Dec. 12. Additional programs with Rucci and his design team include free hands-on workshops for teens and college students on all facets of the design process, including presenting ideas to a client, while an adult workshop will focus on creating mood boards and inspiration books. All workshops take place at Cooper Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North. 

Design by Hand is made possible by the support of Van Cleef & Arpels.


Tuesday, Nov. 4; 6:30­–8 p.m. 
Great Hall, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (Fifth Avenue and 91st Street)
Rucci will talk about his creative process, inspiration and the role of the hand in his work. 

General admission $10, members free. Reservation required.

Wednesday, Nov. 5; 4:30­–6 p.m.
Designing for a Client: Teen Workshop
Cooper Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North
Teens will be given a fictitious client with certain attributes and will use sketching, fabric and collage to design a piece for their client.

Free. Reservation required.

Thursday, Nov. 6; 2–4 p.m. 
Construction and Form: College Workshop
Cooper Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North
Students will learn about the process of construction and how toiles, patterns and shapes are used to realize a collection. This workshop is open to college students with valid student ID only.

Free. Registration required.

Thursday, Nov. 6; 6:30­– 8:30 p.m.
Inspiration: Adult Workshop
Cooper Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North
Adult participants will learn about Rucci’s creative process by making mood boards and inspiration books. 

General admission $50, members $25. Reservation required.

Saturday, Nov. 8; 11­– 12:30 p.m. and 1:30­– 3 p.m. 
Create: For Families
Cooper Hewitt Design Center, 111 Central Park North
Children will create a 2-D piece inspired by Rucci's designs and his architectural sculpting, intricate detailing and workmanship. For children ages 5­–12. 

Free. Registration required.

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum educates, inspires and empowers people through design, presenting compelling educational programs, exhibitions and publications. International in scope and possessing one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence, the museum’s rich holdings range from Egypt’s Late Period/New Kingdom (1100 B.C.) to the present day and total more than 210,000 objects.

Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st St. at Fifth Avenue in New York City. The museum is currently closed, and will reopen to the public Dec. 12 following a three-year renovation project.

For further information, call (212) 849-8400, visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at and follow the museum on and

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