Friday, 17 September 2010

M/M Interview with Joe Ruggiero

Photo of designers Joe Ruggiero and Hubert de Givenchy taken during  “A Visit to Le Jonchet” at the country house of French designer Hubert De Givenchy. The image is provided by Joe Ruggiero for exclusive use. All rights reserved.

This exclusive interview with designer Joe Ruggiero was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Los Angeles September 2010

You have been in design for decades, what would you say is the most satisfying aspect of your job now that it has become truly multi-media?

I must say designing products for my collection. I enjoy traveling and speaking about my total home collection. It is so gratifying to be able to put together a room using all the products that I design;upholstery, Miles Talbott; case goods,Gat Creek; lighting,Craftmade; drapery/bedding,Casa Fiora; textiles,Sunbrella with decorative trims by Phoenix; my art and photography, W.King Ambler; and outdoor furniture,Woodard and Terra furniture.

How would you describe your vision?

I give a nod to the past and a look to the future. My style in transitional and yet derived from the classics. I believe every room should be a living room and my products are designed to be used and lived with in any room. The Sunbrella fabrics are all easy care for heavy wear and my wood pieces are finished to allow cold or hot cups to rest on the surfaces. They are also observant of the environment.

When you purchase your own clothing what are deciding factors on cut and fabrication?

I like a comfortable cut: natural shoulders and fabric that travels well and is not heavy. Most are Merino wool and silk combo. No heavy weight.

Fabric is one item that transcends design genres. How does fabrication play into your world?

As a proponent of Sunbrella for Upholstery, I must say I like fabric that wears. I still have a Huntsman Custom suit I bought in 1968; a worsted wool that sort of fits...a little snug.

Has interior design become too vast? What is your opinion of the television programs promoting unknown people as though they were professional designers?

I must admit the design shows are not what they should be. Fine design and architecture have no showcase today. I am in development now for a show that will show the "best of the best." I am not into the "quick fix" decorating that seems to be so popular on the tube, I would say my legacy is bringing design to television but not the kind I am seeing on television today.

Please name three designers who you feel have had the greatest impact on your personal style and design aesthetic.

Certainly, Hubert de Givenchy; the true beacon of design and I am proud to say I had quality time in his presence. Alan Flusser has always influenced my personal style and of course the masters of Interior Design: John Saladino, David Easton and Michael Taylor. Do I get anymore? The list could be endless. There are so many names I could name who have influenced me. Let's not forget Ralph Lauren and what he has done for American Style and his recent remodel of the Hôtel Particulaire in Paris.

You produced the now legendary “A Visit to Le Jonchet”, in the country house of French designer Hubert de Givenchy. There is that timeless photo of you two together on the property with the dog that speaks volumes. Can you discuss what that entire experience meant in terms of your own design? And how did Mr. Givenchy, a fashion designer of the highest order view the process?

I must say my experience at Le Jonchet was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I have never met a more talented man in my life and yet extremely humble and hospitable. He made us all feel so welcome in his home and will never forget his grace and charm. I had interview him ten years before I produced "A Visit to Le Jonchet" at a retrospective of his work in Washington, D.C. that socialite Deda Blair arranged for a show I was doing on the Lifetime network called the Living Magazine and had no idea that we would meet again and that I would visit his house in the Loire Valley.

The above interview with Joe Ruggiero 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.