Remember when Ralph Lauren stood for prepped out flower patterns, tartan and rugby?
This past fall I visited the Ralph Lauren showroom down in High Point, NC for the first time and was totally surprised and blown away by what I saw there. While most furniture companies and designers follow trends and break out only a little bit, the Ralph Lauren folks live in their own world and march to their own drummer. So I had to go visit their showrooms in NYC this past week to get closer to the fire. What I saw was another face of Ralph: edgier, luxe and playing with the shadows.
The Ralph Lauren world is a special world. Driven by their hugely profitable fashion business and a close adherence to a small group of very strong style stories or "movies" that make up their creative universe (ie. Traditional English manor, Deco Park Ave apartment, Parisian Left Bank loft, Southwest ranch), their designers design only to please their clientele and fill out this world. As a result, what they come up with is marvelously unique, often beautiful and often very odd - but never safe. Oh, and it's also all very, very expensive.
What you'll see in the showroom right now (and in these photos) are a three collections that are particularly geared for the holiday season, when their 72nd street stores are overrun by international shoppers. In the luxury world these days, the big money is all coming from China and Russia, so I imagine these styles are meant to catch those eyes. This is a long way from the preppy, English Ralph Lauren of Connecticut and the Hamptons.
This is not your mother's Ralph Lauren.
A Guide to the Ralph Lauren World