Happy 74th birthday to the inimitable Mr. Ralph Lauren.
efore long, I may need to seriously consider changing the name of this site to “The World According to Ralph Lauren.” Much to my chagrin, I do write often about this lifestyle czar because, well aesthestically, he speaks to my soul. From clothing and accessories to houseware and furniture, his is a world of sheer perfection; albeit, for many, an aspirational one. I know some feel that Mr. Lauren’s aesthestic sensibilities are a borrowed ideal of English life, but when you think about it, haven't we all "borrowed" something from someone (sartorially speaking), at one time or another? He is just someone who has taken the wheel as we've come to know it, and has, for well over 40 years, completely re-imagined it, re-tooled it and re-invigorated it. And while he may have been "inspired" by the riding attire and tweeds of the English (as well as the glamour of Old Hollywood), he has taken these staples and brought them, and so much more, to a new level of unrivaled perfection; creating a lifestyle (a most rarefied lifestyle, to be certain), and a global empire along the way.
Ralph Lauren’s newest home collection, Apartment No. One, which gives reference to the new 21-room living quarters of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, quite grandly pays homage, in part at least, to another royal: The Duke of Windsor. It would be futile to resist trying to not fall in love with (or in) any rooms housing even a few of these pieces. With the juxtaposition of traditionally masculine and ultra-feminine fabrics and furnishings harmoniously interwoven throughout this collection, the utter sumptuousness of it all proves visually intoxicating. From the Glen & Tartan Plaids to the jewel-toned, silk-covered chairs and the curvaceously carved legs of an 18th century-inspired writing desk, Apartment No. One is indeed appropriately named; the pieces "creating a world of smart, sophisticated style for the modern Duke & Duchess."
When I decorated my apartment a few years back, I purposely chose a palette of Black & White for its timeless sophistication. I knew that by doing so, with this classic palette as my backdrop/foundation (much like that of Apartment No. One), I could easily create a seemingly entirely new tableau, whenever I wanted, simply by switching out a pillow or two.
So by incorporating one of the Glen Plaid or magenta pillows shown below, I may very well be able to start referring to my place as Apartment No. Two. What do you think?
Images and video via Polo.com
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rawing inspiration from his daily life, as well as his Norman-style manse in Bedford, NY, his 17,000 acre Colorado ranch and his Manhattan apartment (not to mention his Jamaican retreat, Round Hill) who better than Ralph Lauren to instruct America in the fine art of home décor? His home collection provides truly one-stop shopping for any well-appointed home: bedding, furniture, lighting, paint, rugs, tableware and wall coverings and so much more. Since 1983, he has been director, producer and cinematographer of one beautiful home collection after another; providing a stunning storyboard for what can only be termed, “My Dream Life.”
Not unlike his fashion empire, which started with a necktie, his home collection was also born out of his need/desire to have something (sheets, specifically) which he was unable to find in stores; proving necessity is the mother of invention.
Whether or not you appreciate Ralph Lauren's stylistic renderings of a most grand lifestyle, you must admit that his is, incontrovertibly, a style that is luxurious and chic. Pure perfection.
nly once, nearly eight years ago, have I purchased a complete line of one of Ralph Lauren's bedding ensembles: the Rodeo Drive Collection. As a matter of fact, I liked it so much that I purchased it all in duplicate: comforter, sheets, pillow cases, shams...the works! They've held up so well over the years that only recently have I started to use the second set of linens. Still I suppose it's probably time to add another full collection to my Christmas list, instead of just sheets. The haunting question: Which collection?
Images by Bjorn Wallander/Architectural Digest
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While it does seem like an odd coupling initially, the latest designer/store collaboration between the venerable Neiman Marcus and Target, along with the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), is definitely a welcomed one.
I'm not exactly sure when the phenomenon of doing these collaborations started, but with pairings such as Jimmy Choo, Versace and Marni slipping into bed with H&M, and Missoni cozying up to Target recently, if nothing else, I suppose it allows the 98% of the country to feel "sophisticatedly upscale" for a change, while most likely irritating the 2% to no end! Starting tomorrow, December 1st, twenty-four of some of the world's most famous and fashionable designers, from Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs and Thom Browne to Tracy Reese, Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch, as well as Southern California's favorite daughters, Pasadena's Karen & Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, will have their limited-edition wares featured at both stores. And what an offering there will be: clothing, dinnerware, studded gloves, serving trays, plus plenty more.
I really like the Altuzarra black, mahogany-framed tray with gold detail and the "fashion" cookie cutters by Band of Outsiders. I can't imagine you not being able to find something for someone on your Christmas list this holiday season. Happy shopping!
TOP ROW: Alice + Olivia, Altuzarra, Band of Outsiders, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Derek Lam, Diane von Furstenberg, Eddie Borgo. MIDDLE ROW: Jason Wu, Judith Leiber, Lela Rose, Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Phillip Cranji, Prabal Gurung, BOTTOM ROW: Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Robert Rodriguez, Rodarte, Skaist-Taylor, Thom Browne, Tory Burch and Tracy Reese.
Images and video via Target.com
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I'm not quite certain who said, "Looking for a job is more work than having a job," but whomever it was, they were incontrovertibly correct. Since being laid-off from my job in the mortgage industry (the second largest bank failure in US history), I've been on the hunt for new employment. Even though my background has been in banking (first, at a financial institution and then in mortgage banking) I'm at a crossroads as to what I want to do for a second act. While I'm willing to, once again, take a job in the banking industry (since bills never seem to cease), how lucky would I be to now be able delve into something that I'm truly passionate about? The question, of course, is what exactly will that be? Become a vintner? Seek a job for Ralph Lauren? Finally venturing forth with an idea I've had for a start-up since before Moses parted the Red Sea? Whatever I decide to persue, what better way to take along my resumé than in this Louis Vuitton envelope that I purchased nearly 15 years ago? Long gone are the days of the bulky, hard-sided briefcase and since I'm well past puberty, so is the thought of using a backpack, or worst yet, a plastic folder to ferry around my professional life on paper. I also have a black crocodile embossed attaché from Aspinal of London, as well as, a chocolate-brown, croc embossed document carrier.
(Note: I've never actually worn the vest on an interview, since that would be a tad much, don't you think?)
Polo Ralph Lauren
I was born in the country, but brought up in the big city, with hopes of always maintaining the charm, wit and character of a southern, sophisticated
gentleman. In my goal to live more passionately & purposefully, here are just a few things that I've learned and experienced along the way, making my journey more interesting, and more importantly, easier.