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At home with Ralph Lauren

“There are few people who have had more influence on American style than Lauren, and although he is best known for his fashion, the designer has given the world an equally influential vision for a stylish home."

In the late 1960s when young American salesman Ralph Lauren couldn’t find a wide, European-style necktie he decided to design one himself. Lauren left the company he was working for to establish his own, taking rags and turning them into ties, which he famously sold from the drawer of a closet in the Empire State Building. But Lauren didn’t stop with the ties. Ties led to shirts then fully-fledged ready-to-wear collections for women and men fit for everything from dinner in a Manhattan restaurant to sailing on a yacht or a weekend on a ranch. Today, the Ralph Lauren, its fortune built on the designer’s now-iconic interpretation of the American dream and lifestyle, a high-end take on the country’s social and sartorial tropes which has seen him called on to create the costumes for such American classics as the 1974 film The Great Gatsby and Diane Keaton’s title character in the 1976 Woody Allen feature Annie Hall.

Ralph Lauren Fall 2016 Collection Runway Show

From the living room to the runway, discover Ralph Lauren’s fashion inspirations in the fall/winter 2016 womenswear collection.

There are few people who have had more influence on American style than Lauren, and although he is best known for his fashion, the designer has given the world an equally influential vision for a stylish home, too. In 1983, well before major fashion houses had furnishings lines, the designer was the first to offer a product line for interiors with the Ralph Lauren Home collection, expanding his empire into interiors. He began with items such as bedding, crockery and rugs in 1983, adding furniture in 1985, paint in 1995 and lighting in 2000. Today it is possible to furnish your entire dwelling with Ralph Lauren Home in a manner as sophisticated, timeless, and all-American as the designer’s clothing collections. “It’s all an extension of something I wanted in my life—or my dream life,” he told Architectural Digest of Ralph Lauren Home.

In the world of Ralph Lauren, the private and business spheres are intertwined. The designer is literally living the dream he is marketing, with five elegant homes around the world that have provided inspiration for many of his interiors collections. There’s a high-rise apartment in Manhattan, a 17,000-acre ranch in Colorado, a rural estate in Bedford, a beach house in Montauk and a tropical retreat in Jamaica. Each has a particular style, but each is also undeniably Ralph Lauren. “I think it’s the eye, the taste, and the spirit of the dream” that links them together, he told Architectural Digest.

It all translates to global sales in more than 60 countries through Ralph Lauren stores and select specialty retailers, as well as a professional trade network for architects and interior designers.

Ralph Lauren stores play an important role in selling his interiors dream – each is designed to feel like one of Lauren’s actual homes to showcase everything from fashion and accessories to furniture, fine china and bed and bath linens in a warm and intimate environment that sometimes includes restaurants and cafes. And like his all-American fashion, the Ralph Lauren Home collections within them showcase Lauren’s most recognisable influences – from the western frontier and the grandeur of a noble estate to the adventurous spirit of a safari and the glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Ralph Lauren Home collections are introduced twice per year, with evocative names like Thoroughbred, Modern Penthouse and Jamaica. Each collection offers an extraordinary breadth, from more than 180 furniture pieces to the paint collection palette of 1285 colours. A dedication to the finest materials available, such as wool for its versatility, luxurious feel and practicality, permeates each collection filled with heirloom-quality pieces rendered in elegant materials thoughtfully tailored to how we live today.

For the brand’s new fall/winter 2016 Hoe collection, entitled Hoxton, Lauren looked to the eclectic sensibility of East London’s artist lofts. Hoxton imbues vintage influences with a modern, bohemian spirit in a palette of warm grey, cream and sepia. Minimalist linens are layered with ticking stripes and rich wool plaids, with wool providing a softness and unsurpassably seductive texture that is juxtaposed with rustic pine, distressed leathers and artfully glazed stoneware. English florals elevate a reclaimed aesthetic through a careful curation that feels both timeless and new, while industrial-inspired lighting threads throughout Hoxton, balancing the ornate beauty of antique objects with a nod to the neighborhood’s heritage.  

While each Ralph Lauren Home collection is different – others have been inspired by French country houses and the Scottish Highlands – their combined influence on how we live has been profound and each one is inspired by the designer’s vision for a life lived well in style. “I felt like just creating the clothes wasn’t enough,” Lauren has said, adding, “It’s all an extension of something I wanted in my life – or my dream life.”