A new book offers a glimpse into Ralph Lauren’s everyday rituals and routines
When it comes to interior design, Ralph Lauren would be hardpressed to pinpoint any one passion. “I have never followed architectural rules or chosen one decorative theme,” he admits. “I love contemporary. I love American Country, the Southwest, Bauhaus.” Over the course of his legendary career, that polyglot sensibility has informed every aspect of his work and life, from his runway shows to his own residences and collections. “I don’t care if a thing is English, French, antique, or modern. It’s whatever appeals to my eye.” Put simply, he adds, “I’m a romantic.”
Those words, among many other intimate musings, resonate powerfully in the style icon’s new book, Ralph Lauren: A Way of Living (Rizzoli). Published on the 40th anniversary of Ralph Lauren Home, the volume both surveys the designer’s own abodes and chronicles the evolution of his trailblazing lifestyle brand, launched in 1983 as a furnishings extension to his fashion empire. “Our homes are a canvas for living,” he writes. “Whether we live in the city, the country, on a farm, at the beach, in a penthouse or cabin, each is home and tells our story.”
His own story has unfolded at five extraordinary properties, many of which design lovers will recognize from the pages of Architectural Digest. In Manhattan, Lauren and his wife, Ricky, retreat to the sculptural volumes of a prewar Fifth Avenue apartment, boldly renovated in the style of a downtown loft. North of the city, they have transformed a historic Bedford estate into a timeless showcase for beloved antiques. Meanwhile, the couple’s Colorado ranch, christened Double RL after their initials, is their love letter to the American West, with timber lodges and barns set on 17,000 pristine acres. There are also the ultra-glamorous High Rock and White Orchid houses in Jamaica, both set on the grounds of the fabled Round Hill resort. And at the tip of Long Island, the family’s shipshape Montauk getaway nods to Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the sea.