Born: Milan, Italy, 1 February 1945. Education: Studied design at Accademia delle Arti Applicate, Milan, 1963-65. Career: Freelance designer in Milan, from 1966. Exhibitions: Galleria del Prisma, Milan, 1963; Venice Biennale, 1981; Italian Re-Evolution, La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California, 1982; Per Un Vestire Organico, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, 1983; Italia: The Genius of Fashion, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, 1985; Dopo Gondrand: Cinzia RuggeriDenis Santachiara, Il Luogo di Corrado Levi, Milan, 1986; Extra Vacanze di Cinzia Ruggeri, Galleria Tucci Russo, Turin, 1986; Internationale Mobel Messe, Cologne, 1987; Fashion and Surrealism, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, 1987 (toured); Pianeta Italia, Kaufhof Stores, Cologne, 1988; Salon del Mobile, Milan, 1988. Collections: Museo della Moda, Parma. Awards: Fil d'Or award, Confederation Internationale du Lin, 1981, 1982, 1983. Address: Corso Buenos Sires 2, Milan 20124, Italy. Website: www.cinziaruggeri.com.
Casa Vogue (Milan), April 1980.
Amendola, Paola, Vestire Italiano, Rome, 1983.
Branzi, Andrea, The Hot House: Italian New Wave Design, London, 1984.
Soli, Pia, Il Genio Antipatico, Milan, 1984.
Manzini, Ezio, La Materia Dell'Invenzione, Milan, 1986.
Martin, Richard, Fashion and Surrealism, New York, London, 1987.
Soli, Pia, Pranzo alle 8, Milan, 1988.
Contemporary Designers, Third Edition, Detroit, 1997.
"Suggestioni Antoillogiche," Il Giorno, 3 May 1998.
Gandini, Manuela, "Ombre di Cinzia Ruggeri," Il Sole 24 Ore, 31 May 1998.
Muritti, Elisabetta, "Alice nel Paese della Post-Meriviglie," Elle, June 1998.
Davide, Paolini, "Ma il Grana e' in Galleria," Il Sole 24 Ore, 21 June 1998.
Piccoli, Cloe, "Specchi e Poltrone," La Repubblica, 22 June 1998.
Carloni, M. V., "Essere Dandy nel XXI Secolo," Specchio della Stampa, 27 June 1998.
"Cinzia Ruggeri," available online at her company website, www.cinziaruggeri.com, October 2001.***
Following her studies in the applied arts at the Accademia delle Arti Applicate in Milan, Cinzia Ruggeri obtained a position in the atelier of Carven in Paris. On her return to Italy, she served as director of design for the ready-to-wear firm of Unimac SpA, owned by her father, Guido Ruggeri, and based in Milan.
The Ruggeri firm was founded in 1963 and ceased operations in 1975. It had been controlled by the family and, under the label Guido Ruggeri, produced women's suits and coats. Unimac SpA was one of the foremost manufacturers in the booming Italian ready-to-wear industry of the 1960s. Signor Ruggeri and his daughter integrated the artisan's aesthetics and sartorial traditions with new techniques of production and distribution. During the 1960s, radical changes were occurring in the Italian garment industry. Good design, improved manufacturing methods, and competition diminished the pervasive antipathy to mass production. New ideas and reorganization were fused in collaborative efforts between manufacturer and small but specialized companies.
Around 1966, Unimac SpA began investigating alternatives such as synthetic fur detailing and novelty fasteners. It was possibly Cinzia Ruggeri's developing sense of design that was responsible for linking diverse fashion elements with the new manufacturing methods. During the 1970s, when Milanese designers were involved more than usual with "things English," Ruggeri worked for the manufacturer Bumblebee, which produced a line of women's blouses labeled Bloom. On the Via Gandino in 1977, she proceeded to build her own line, labeled Bloom SpA, and presented her first collection to the press in 1978.
In 1979 the atelier was moved to the Via Crocefisso. From 1980 through 1984, Ruggeri presented her singular, thematic ready-to-wear collections with other Milanese designers at the Fiera di Milano. On one occasion, outside the seasonal venue, her 1985 collection was presented in a building formerly used for religious services. The lighting installation was designed by the English musician Brian Eno. In 1982, she added the label Cinzia Ruggeri to her existing Bloom SpA line, and in 1986 she introduced menswear.
Throughout the 1980s, Ruggeri continued to apply thematic appliqués to traditional styling, employing contemporary fabrics. A 1981 winter ensemble included a jacket of synthetic fur strips, ornamented with a fabric appliqué of three pigs covering the entire back of the garment. At an early stage in her career, Ruggeri established her sense of global responsibility by refusing to use animal fur, and both the wool trousers and the crêpe de chine blouse also featured the threesome appliqué. The piéce de résistance in this case was a perfectly constructed three-dimensional shoulder bag in the shape of a pig.
Ziggurat 1984-85 was a two-piece synthetic evening dress. The garment was appliquéd with scattered two-dimensional fabric bows, knotted as if clutching the three-dimensional feathers. The ruffle-edged jacket was traditional in design, and the floor-length skirt was three tiered, recalling the stepped towers of ancient civilizations. Subsequent garments have included these ziz-zag elements and structuring to form a volume independent of the wearer's body. She refers the stepped pattern to a personal symbol, which she has also repeated in other artistic expressions. Artform Magazine featured an illustration of a glass container that incorporated the pattern at right angles to each other.
The fantasy of nature itself was compelling to the Surrealists and to Ruggeri. Her 1983 Surrealist vision of marine life was titled "Dress with Octopus." The long-sleeved, boxy jacket was the surface for randomly placed cascading square fabric forms, and the straight shift worn underneath involved the same protrusions, including a neckline cut as an ocean's horizon. Her broken ground print dress, quite traditional in style and fit, was pierced with oversized blossoms and crawling with three-dimensional lizards. Most recently, in her Milanese studio, she proceeded to design prototypes for various projects that combined fashion with photography, anthropology, geology, and ecology by incorporating photographs of grass, cobblestones, and marble in her textile designs.
Ruggeri has developed "behavioral" garments, printed with material that changes color according to body heat, and designed a "rain coat" with images of lightning and wind. A fitted dress, printed with Scottie dogs and edged with a cantilevered structure from which the dogs appear to be running, is, of course, not surprisingly featured in a magazine accompanied by a set of three-dimensional Scottie dog suitcases. "Abito Tovaglia," tablecloth gown, illustrates a seated woman wearing a floor-length gown. She wears a collar as napkin, at first rolled up to the waist and attached at the sides of the garment. When unrolled, the panel reveals a cloth set with the utensils of an entire meal. For the Milanese firm Poltrona Frau, Ruggeri designed a chair ornamented with whiskered cats and illuminated eyes. A shower head is illustrated in the shape of a human hand with water spraying out from the ringer tips.
As an artist, Ruggeri has challenged herself in designing theatrical productions, ballets, and artistic events and has ventured into interior and furniture design. She has exhibited at the Triennale di Milano and the Biennale di Venezia, and performances involving her fantastical costumes have clearly reflected her poetic tendencies when given such titles as Performance Adanamica (Performance Without Movement), La Casa Onirica (The House Where I Dream), and Per Vestire Organico (To Dress Organically), all from 1983. La Neo Merce, Il Design dell'Intensione e dell'Estasi Artificiale were new products design and artificial ecstasy in 1985, and Vestiti al Video, videowear, in 1986. Also presented in 1994 were Verona Neo Eclettismo, Verona new eclecticism, and an exhibit at the Bacini Meridionale Museo Nuova Era.
Firmly entrenched in the world of interior design in the 1990s, Ruggeri created chairs, wardrobes, glassware, mirrors, and other avant-garde furniture and home accessories for such firms as Bic, Colombra, Driade, Ferrari Champagne, Glass Design, Mirror Schatzi, Poltrone Frau, Rapsel, and Wardrobe Rocco. Her work was exhibited at the Krizia Studio in Milan as well as venues in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Tokyo, and New York.
updated by Mary Ellen Snodgrass