Friday, April 8, 2011

Ralph Lauren's New York Flagship Store

Photography courtesy of Joshua McHugh, Architectural Digest
Ralph Lauren, icon of fashion, lifestyle, and interiors. His name is synonymous with Americana and Continental styles, one of the reigning standard-bearers for these design genres. His brand's ability to evoke lifestyle aspiration is pure marketing brilliance. And one needs to look no further than his flagship stores to experience the all-encompassing world of Ralph Lauren.

At the New York flagship store's grand opening this past October, jumbo-sized LED images of the Ralph Lauren brand were projected onto the Madison Avenue store's four-story exterior, complete with complementary music. And when an image of a bottle of perfume was displayed, the scent of the perfume was magically released into the air. Brilliant!

In the past this blog has taken a look at Ralph Lauren's flagship store in Paris, as well as Ralph and Ricky Lauren's fantastic Bedford Estate. As I've stated here before -- Ralph Lauren is a wonderful and smart example of the styles of fashion and interiors colliding. When I heard that he was putting the finishing touches on a new Beaux Arts style store in Manhattan, across the street from his already-existing menswear store (located in the old Rhinelander Mansion), I just knew that it would be exquisite.

The Polo Ralph Lauren Creative Services team successfully mixes differing time periods and styles, an effect that endears me to them. For instance, the artwork below is a harmonious mish-mash of vintage photos from different eras and design styles. I adore the top photograph of the chandelier!
Photo by Joshua McHugh, courtesy of Architectural Digest
Designed as a version of a Hotel Particulier, the 22,000 square foot mansion was built from the ground up, with artisans from Europe and the States using authentic materials and centuries-old methods of building and design to craft a structure that appears constructed during the Beaux Arts heyday of the late 1800s. Expert craftsmen hand-carved interior and exterior limestone, and fire forged and formed intricately-detailed iron railing by hand.

Below, home furnishings featuring the Heiress collection. I could sit and stare at this image: the busy, filled-to-the-rim bookcase; the dreamy chandelier; the faded oriental carpet; the empty frames leaned against the wall.
Photo by Joshua McHugh, courtesy of Architectural Digest

As for his interiors, Ralph Lauren maintains the same principle for all of his stores or homes: his affinity for natural materials. "I like materials that get better with age, like leather, marble, exotic woods. They provide a sense of value." His personal interior designer for nearly two decades, the late, great Naomi Leff, shared Lauren's design affinity for natural materials, and had buyers scour the planet for antiques crafted from the materials Lauren favors for his stores and homes.

In the photo below, you see the some of Lauren's favorite interior design elements: the crystal chandelier, the French furniture, the thread-bare oriental rugs. The two dried grass 'poufs' give a great textural element to the space.

Below, from the Ralph Lauren home collection. Here's a prime example of how neutral colors don't necessarily mean boring. Again, another image I could stare at for a while, taking in all the details.

Photographed by Michael Lisnet, courtesy of Vogue
Below, the VIP suite, where the women's Made to Measure service will debut. Chinoiserie wallpaper by Ralph Lauren Home.

Across the street from the Beaux Arts Mansion housing Ralph Lauren's Womens and Home collection is the newly-renovated Rhinelander Mansion, below, which has contained the Menswear collection since the mid 1980s. Stunning!

Photo courtesy of Polo-Fashion Parties

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