Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ralph Lauren in Architectural Digest

Thank you Margaret Russell and AD for featuring, so beautifully, Ralph Lauren in your September 2013 issue. When I picked up the mail today and saw the cover, I couldn't wait to dive inside.


Now, if you know me, or if you've read this blog for very long - you know that Ralph Lauren is indeed, one of my design icons. Maybe THE design icon. His traditional aesthetic and more-is-more cluttered look is what I've used to shape my idea of the "perfect" room. Ralph Lauren of course, is no stranger to the cover of Architectural Digest.





The man is truly a legend. He has reshaped the way that the world views "American" style, both in fashion and interiors. His many homes have inspired designers across the country, and his high-end home division is seen in magazine featured, covetable rooms created by interior designers old and new, and shared across the bloggersphere by just about all of us.

In Architectural Digests September 2013 issue, they captivate the reader with this image of Ralph's office in the Manhattan headquarters on Madison Avenue:


Just amazing to see how he surrounds himself with so much! The same desk was captured by New York Photographer Pieter Estersohn in 2005.


Nearly the same exact display, atop his popular Highbridge Desk. I love the layered framed prints and photos on the floor, the large ranch themed cowboy mural ... totally the All-American Ralph Lauren we've come to know and love. This set up, in the Manhattan Flagship store is even more unique given the stores facade: 


Hardly the manly ranch lovers cabin, right? The flagship women's only clothing store has garnered high praise, and for those lucky enough to live near and visit the store, the collection of furniture and fashion is constantly inspiring. In fact, there are no shortages of interior images of the women's clothing store. In fact, AD featured the space on the cover of their February 2011 issue, above.



But it's not the RL you'll find at Dillards or Macy's. No, here you'll be browsing $20,000 Ricky bags and $3,000 tweed riding blazers.


Of course, although a clothing store, it's filled with the RL collection of furniture, plus vintage and antique items thrown in to create the Ralph Lauren experience. Even full rooms of the most feminine of the furniture collections are thrown in for good measure:



Like these ... from the RL Heiress Collection. I remember when this collection first showed up on the RLHome website. I fell in love with a few of the photos ...


Described as being a beautiful translation of Bohemian romance, this series of rooms, although very "pretty" is layered to perfection, and I find it insanely inspiring.

The next image in the Architectural Digest issue is one of Ralph and Ricky's Bedford Mansion, described by Ralph as part Hunting Lodge part Stately Manor.


 The house has been featured a million times (it seems) and each time that I see it, it appears fresh and new.


When AD featured the house in 2004, cover above - way up there! - the living library looked very much the same:


In fact, with very little exception, the room is exactly the same. The point of decorating your home with things you love ... there's no need to change as trends fade in and out of favor. The rest of the house is equally as beautiful:











Of course, the Lauren's don't simply have one house. Which I suppose makes it easier not to change the decor even seasonally. They just pick up and shuffle to another house ... one of five, each more beautiful than the next. Luckily though, in this September issue of AD, we get to see a few never-before-seen angles of the rooms at Bedford, like this one of the living room: 


And some interior shots of the beautiful pool house ...



Swoon! I could LIVE in this bathroom. Seriously. Ralph's Bedford Estate is clearly large ... perhaps the largest of the all the Lauren's real estate holdings. 


And my most favorite. Ralph has never claimed to be an interior designer. Rather that he knows how enough to visualize how you should live in any particular environment. He decorates and designs for himself, and if 30 years of success and icon status doesn't spell out very clearly just how that vision has shaped the American idea of "classic" interior design ... I don't know what would. 

Of course, if anyone were going to do an expose on Ralph, Ricky, and their homes - they would have to include Double RL Ranch in Colorado. Built using 100-year-old, hand hewn logs from Montana, the ranch pairs Navajo with Vintage Americana ... a far cry from Bedfords Manor meets Hunting Lodge. 






Of course, AD did a cover story on the Ranch in 2002 ... so there are some older photos of the interiors still floating around ... 









The whole ranch, including the exterior terraces and porches are appointed with late 19th century Indian rugs, woven twig chairs, antique and vintage bedding and linens, aged saddle leather, and bespoke pieces. There's even an airstream trailer on the property for guests: 


Can't you just see Matthew McConaughey out there on that planked deck playing the bongo drums?


It's this sort of whimsy, care free design, that makes the indefatigable Ralph absolutely beyond compare. And while AD leaves their September article on Ralph at Double RL, I suppose a good place to leave the reader, I have to show you more! 


Ralph and Ricky have a Montauk getaway, that at one point, was owned by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The 5.5 acre estate, complete with a pool, tennis court, and the bulk of Ralph's impressive car collection. 






When Elle Decor decided to showcase some Celebrity estates in 2005, they chose the pool of Ralph and Ricky's Montauk retreat as the cover. 







Again, you find that Ralph has mixed styles. If Bedford is Hunting Lodge meets Manor, and Colorado is Navajo meets Americana, then Montauk is Beach meets Industrial Modern. With rattan and Barcelona daybeds, 50's era architects chairs and the classic beach directors chair ... it's a lesson in pairing ... and another example of Ralph's ability to make even the most disparate of items come together seamlessly. 

The Lauren's also have a Manhattan apartment. Very appropriate for a Billion Dollar couple ... 





Ralph and Ricky very early on after buying their Manhattan Duplex, commissioned their friend, the late Angelo Donghia to design the house. Here's an early photo of the room above designed by Donghia:






Apart from the very fun art, a Starwars Stormchaser, a painting of Batman ... this space is far too sparse for me. It feels less like Ralph Lauren than any of their other homes ... but I suppose at some point, you have to escape the clutter and just exist with the clean lines. I half expected the Manhattan duplex to be decorated in the same vein as his Brock Street collection: 




Or maybe even his slightly more Donald Trump'ish' collection One Fifth: 




But, I suppose even though it isn't my favorite. If I had to name the pairing, the Manhattan Fifth Avenue Duplex would be Eccentricity meets Austere. And finally, because I can't find interior photos of the private plane ... 


We'll finish up the RL estate tour, started by Architectural Digest with the Jamaican beach house, located in the Round Hill resort of Montego Bay:










Naturally, when the house down the hill went on the market in 1996, Ralph and Ricky jumped at the chance of owning it ... and renovated it, calling it White Orchid. 




Round Hill, the oldest of the Lauren's homes is certainly East Indies meets Paradise Chic, while White Orchid is much more Le Grand Hotel ...





A blue and white masterpiece ... and probably my favorite of the RL Home collections, apart from the very recent Brookfield Collection: 





A collection of all my favorites, gilt, tapestry, seagrass, houndstooth and suiting fabrics ... it's certainly living up to the romantic description: A fresh translation of a time honored thoroughbred estate with an exciting mix of classic motifs and elegantly undone bohemian elements. It sort of reminds me of a much more polished version of the very old St. Germaine collection ... 





Ah, rediscovering these photos has me rethinking my own interiors. Oh Ralph! And just because it's an easy transition, I have to show you photos of the Ralph Lauren store located on Boulevard St. Germain, in the Latin quarter of Paris. 






I mean, if the Eiffel Tower wasn't enough of an attraction ... this sure has me longing for a Parisian lunch, American style. 

Thanks to AD for getting me going on this post, and for all of you for sticking with it to the end! I told you, I love Ralph Lauren, so you knew it wasn't gonna be a short one ... right? I so appreciate your comments!

32 comments:

  1. We've driven by the entrance to the doubleRL ranch in Colorado more times than I can count peering over the horizon... do you love me more now?!! Stalkers R us!!! It is a gorgeous part of our country!

    xxoj.

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  2. Oh Joan, I can't imagine loving you any more than I already do ... but I certainly am jealous of your excursions! What a gorgeous view they have ... Lucky Lauren's! :)
    xoxo,
    A

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  3. Thank you! There can never be too much Ralph! :-)) Love!

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  4. Thank you Artie, you made my morning coffee perfect with all of these knuckle biting photos! Wonderful job putting this together!
    Lee

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    1. Thank YOU Lee! I had a lot of fun researching this post, but his fame and popularity made it pretty easy ... Old Man Lauren is all over the net!
      xoxo,
      A

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  5. SO gorgeous.....I want to live in all the rooms!!! I'm going back to look at the wonderful eye candy again :o)
    ~Des

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    1. I know Des! I just soak it up ... he's such a master! I would move into that Bedford home in a New York minute!
      xox,
      A

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  6. oh arte i don't know if you know this about me or not but rl is my spiritual soulmate. lol.

    i love that you put this collection of photos together. thank you!

    i've been to his beverly hills store, his malibu store, his madison avenue store and even his st. germain store in paris. they are all so freaking gorgeous!

    have not been to the rrl ranch though - damn joan!

    again, thanks arte!

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  7. WOW. Thank you for your time in putting this together ! This has to be by far the best blog post I have ever seen. I appreciate your time and work on this and thoroughly enjoyed every single photo. Ralph makes me proud to be an American! I love his style.
    Sincerely,
    Sharon
    @novaraway

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    1. Thanks Sharon for reading and the glowing praise!
      Glad you enjoyed it!
      xoxo,
      A

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  8. Artie I am enthralled and you have outdone yourself. The homes of such an American iconic designer has me swooning. Every room has many special items to treasure! Thank you!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Designer Series

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    1. Thank you Karena! It was a real pleasure - pouring over these images just made me remember how much I truly love Ralph!
      xoxo,
      A

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  9. Great job, Artie, on a designer we all love. He does get a bit cluttered sometimes, but it's such beautiful clutter.
    And, oh to have five houses so each could be a loved design ethic. Thus would end all my conflicts. Thanks for putting all these wonderful images on one post. (Since I pinned so many of them onto my RL board, I can refer back to your lovely post anytime. Such a treat.)
    b

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    1. Exactly b, beautiful clutter! What a beautiful life.
      Glad you enjoyed this post!
      xoxo,
      A

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  10. I must say that as a Ralph Lauren enthusiast - he just captures everything I love and do in a home - you have certainly captured just about everything except his New Bohemian, some of which I have posted on my Pinterest...jog on over and have a peek...http://pinterest.com/safarijayne/boards/

    No trying to be anonymous, but I cannot figure this stuff out ..

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    1. Thanks so much SafariJayne! I will definitely pop over, as I plan on showing off all the past collections in the next few posts! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      xoxo,
      A

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  11. Wonderful Ralph! He had some wonderful collections on his website that he no longer features. There was one with red and black plaid and red roses everywhere, a black and white house with hits of color, an island house... How I miss these. Can you do a post on these?

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    1. Oh Helen, I'm gonna try. I think I know which one you mean with the black and white house with color (that's part two of the future post) and there are so many red and black plaids, I think you might mean Noble Estate ... which is in part one ... now up on the blog!!
      xoxo,
      A

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  12. Big thank you for this fabulous post, Artie!

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    1. You are SOooo Welcome Pat! Thank YOU for coming by!
      xoxo,
      A

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  13. Thank you, Artie, for such a comprehensive post on one of my favorites as well. Ralph and Ricky's home in Jamaica has long been an all-time favorite. Now that I live in SW Florida, which has a similar vibe as Jamaica, I am going to take another look for my own home.
    XO, Victoria

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    1. Oh Victoria, I would give anything to live in that Jamaica house ... well, almost anything!
      Thanks for coming by!
      xoxo,
      A

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  14. Thank you for this GREAT thread. I LOVE RL and have for years. He can make a stuffy decorated room with all the traditional amenities in it, then somehow make it look livable and relaxed. Of course those of us who are interested in design are always having our designer books and magazines near us to review on tables or anywhere nearby. And the colors he uses are traditional but with an 'always new' feeling.

    Thanks again for this great post!

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  15. Oh thank you so much, I loved them all, the white orchid house is something to see...I loved them all and the leather chairs are all so incredible...Love him

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    1. White Orchid is a favorite of mine, too, Phyllis! I think it's just perfect as an island retreat!
      xoxo,
      A

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  16. Love all the pics gathered together... I wish there was a book w/ all the past collections in one place.. Thanks for all the research... I have seen his London, New York, and Dallas stores.... All beautiful...

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  17. I tried to find the orange boots he is wearing on the cover but no luck in the Ralph Lauren collection or anyone else's either, were the photo-shopped orange for the cover?

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  18. Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

    Amela
    Office Furniture Bedford

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