2006 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion: Ralph Rucci


ralph rucci and dr. valerie steele
Ralph Rucci and Dr. Valerie Steele

The Couture Council of The Museum at FIT at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) honored designer Ralph Rucci, an alumnus of FIT, with its inaugural Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion. He received this honor at a luncheon sponsored by CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT), one of the nation's leading providers of factoring and financing to the fashion and apparel industries, at Brasserie 8 1/2 in New York City.

Ralph Rucci is an internationally renowned designer, known for his innovative cut and construction, and for the impeccable craftsmanship of his work. In 2002, he became the first American designer since Mainbocher in the 1930s to show his work at the haute couture in Paris. The quality of both his couture and ready to wear is exceptional, as his dedication to the highest standards of fashion artistry, epitomized historically by figures such as Cristobal Balenciaga, Mme. Grès, Halston, and Charles James – all of whome are represented in the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT. A selection of Rucci's work was displayed at the luncheon as the prelude to a major exhibition, Ralph Rucci, at the museum, from January 12 to April 14, 2007. 

"Ralph Rucci's entire career has been dedicated to the artistry of fashion," said Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT. "Ever since his first collection in 1981, he has focused on technical innovations and meticulous attention to detail, resulting in miracles of lightness and grace. No wonder Suzy Menkes described Rucci's work as 'the art of weightlessness'."

Couture Council co-chair Elizabeth T. Peek said, "We are thrilled to have a sell-out crowd to honor FIT alum Ralph Rucci and to launch this Couture Council event."

Ralph Rucci said, "To say that this is an honor is an understatement. You see, what his event allows me is a perspective of accomplishment within myself and within my chosen metier. My work, for many years, has been an exploration and evolution of my self. To have the self recognized is a moment of enormous awareness, growth, and a strong trajectory into the only true touchstone of growth, which is humility." 

"We are pleased to support FIT and to underwrite the awards luncheon for the Couture Council honoring Ralph Rucci," said Jeffrey M. Peek, Chairman and CEO of CIT. "CIT has a long history of supporting the design, apparel and retail industries and we were delighted to recognize his distinguished achievements." 

Mr. Rucci was selected for this honor by an advisory committee comprised of fashion scholars and editors including Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT; Patricia Mears, deputy director of The Museum at FIT; Caroline Rennolds Milbank, fashion historian; Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harper's Bazaar; and members of the executive committee of the Couture Council. 

Luncheon VIPs included Dr. Joyce F. Brown, president of FIT; Jeffrey M. Peek, chairman and CEO of CIT; luncheon chair Charlotte Moss; luncheon co-chairs Elizabeth T. Peek, Yaz Hernández, and Sarah Wolfe, and H.R.H. Princess Firyal of Jordan, Glenda Bailey, and former supermodel Tatiana Sorokko, luncheon vice-chairs. 


CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT), a leading commerical and consumer finance company, provides clients with financing and leasing products and advisory services. Founded in 1908, CIT has more than $70 billion in managed assets and possesses the financial resources, industry expertise and product knowledge to serve the needs of clients across approximately 30 industries worldwide. CIT, a Fortune 500 company and member of the S&P 500 Index, holds leading positions in vendor financing, factoring, equipment and transportation financing, Small Business Administration loans, and asset-based lending. With its global headquarters in New York City, CIT has more than 7,000 employees in locations throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. https://www.cit.com/