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Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Here comes Ralph Lauren, making his way across the gravel in front of his surprisingly modest Normandy-style mansion on his anything but modest upstate New York estate. Neighbouring that of fellow purveyor of lifestyles Martha Stewart, Lauren’s estate stretches across nearly 600 acres of woodland and hills. The house itself sits at the end of a mile-long drive. Under cold but crystal-clear New York skies Lauren is wearing old-school jodhpurs and riding boots teamed with a Newfoundland sweater and an artfully distressed leather biker jacket. He takes up position for a photograph next to his 1950 Jaguar XK120, immaculate of course but painted – like all five of his Jaguars – in Lauren’s own take on British Racing Green. As a colour it’s a little less stiff than BRG, a little more Mediterranean somehow, with its undertone of fat green olives. The quintessential 1950s British sports car painted in something… Italian? Just like combining biker with equestrian, it shouldn’t work, but it does. That’s Ralph Lauren, the man, the designer, and the multi-billion-dollar business: ideas, moods and imagery from anywhere his eye alights are reassembled, reshaped and repackaged into a seductive and sophisticated visual lingua franca as diverse as coastal America itself.
ralph lauren car collection 1

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Ralph Lauren has assembled a personal collection of some of the most exquisite cars ever created. Examples of Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche and Ferrari from the 1920s to the 1990s, illustrating the technological and aesthetic evolution of the automobile, are all found in this exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs, a stylish wing of the Louvre. Experience Ralph Lauren’s car collection online in an elegant new interactive feature at Ralph Lauren.com.
ralph lauren car collection 2

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

From the outside, the garage itself, the garage that contains around $400m worth of motor cars, is anonymous. Once inside however, it’s anything but – three-metre-high blow-ups of magazine covers featuring Lauren and his cars see to that. There’s an administrative suite with scale models and an archive that would happily consume days of your time. There’s a workshop, of course, and an ante-room featuring the more humdrum (by Lauren’s standard) cars in the collection (oh, just a couple of 280SE Mercs, three Porsche 911s including a bright orange 2007 GT3 RS – “Ralph liked the colour…” says Mark Reinwald, Lauren’s collection manager – and a 996 Porsche Turbo. “He uses that to visit his dentist…” and, today, the original Jeep in which I once saw him drive up to Joni’s sandwich bar in Montauk, looking the part in a vintage flying suit and aviators). Then there’s the collection proper. The 43 cars are displayed across two floors on simple white and black plinths, carefully and beautifully lit. On each floor there’s a place to sit and meet, featuring Lauren’s all-carbon fibre RL-CF1 chairs, inspired by the McLaren F1. There are two F1s in the collection. You may be familiar with the orange F1 GTR, along with the 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, the 1930 ‘Count Trossi’ Mercedes SSK, the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C Mille Miglia and the Ferrari 250GTO.
ralph lauren car collection 3

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Speed, Style, and Beauty Cars from the Ralph Lauren Collection March 6, 2005 – July 3, 2005 More than any other modern artifact, the automobile dramatically changed the way we live. Like any art form, car design reflects changes in fashion, technology, and societal attitudes. In its first exhibition devoted to car design, the MFA displays sixteen magnificent automobiles from the collection of world-renowned designer and car enthusiast Ralph Lauren, featuring some of history’s most memorable cars. Particularly noteworthy is a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe (above). Its elegance is nearly matched, though, by the celebrated “Count Trossi” Mercedes-Benz SSK from 1930, with its flamboyant swept-back fenders and tapered tail. Complementing these pre-war beauties are sleek racers from the 1950s and ’60s, including an example of the legendary Jaguar XKD; a sporty Porsche 550 Spyder; and famed models from the house of Ferrari, such as the 250 Testa Rossa and the GTO. The line and shape of these cars are no less impressive than the works of brilliant sculptors; viewers will be amazed by the wealth of detail to be found in the wheels, grills, and even the gas caps. Enjoy a wonderful opportunity to admire some of this past century’s finest automotive design. Sponsors This exhibition was co-sponsored by Merrill Lynch. Media sponsor is CBS4.
ralph lauren car collection 4

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

From the outside, the garage itself, the garage that contains around $400m worth of motor cars, is anonymous. Once inside however, it’s anything but – three-metre-high blow-ups of magazine covers featuring Lauren and his cars see to that. There’s an administrative suite with scale models and an archive that would happily consume days of your time. There’s a workshop, of course, and an ante-room featuring the more humdrum (by Lauren’s standard) cars in the collection (oh, just a couple of 280SE Mercs, three Porsche 911s including a bright orange 2007 GT3 RS – “Ralph liked the colour…” says Mark Reinwald, Lauren’s collection manager – and a 996 Porsche Turbo. “He uses that to visit his dentist…” and, today, the original Jeep in which I once saw him drive up to Joni’s sandwich bar in Montauk, looking the part in a vintage flying suit and aviators). Then there’s the collection proper.
ralph lauren car collection 5

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

When it comes to his myriad fashion lines, Lauren was a pioneer of the sportswear aesthetic. ‘I didn’t know it was going to be so influential, I didn’t have a crystal ball – I just liked it myself because I was athletic and played sport. All that goes into my work. It is reflected in my appreciation of sports cars too – the fun of driving, shifting, having a machine that’s beautiful to look at. That got me. They’re all about life for me.’ The absence of Americana in the collection seems an anomaly. There’s a handful of Jeeps and various pick-up trucks at the RRL ranch in Colorado but the only American car in the collection proper is a 1948 Ford “Woody” station wagon. When I suggest this is a surprise, and that most people’s image of Ralph Lauren is that of a sunkissed, all-American guy wearing double denim like he was born to it, his response is revealing: “I thought I looked English!”
ralph lauren car collection 6

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

Here comes Ralph Lauren, making his way across the gravel in front of his surprisingly modest Normandy-style mansion on his anything but modest upstate New York estate. Neighbouring that of fellow purveyor of lifestyles Martha Stewart, Lauren’s estate stretches across nearly 600 acres of woodland and hills. The house itself sits at the end of a mile-long drive. Under cold but crystal-clear New York skies Lauren is wearing old-school jodhpurs and riding boots teamed with a Newfoundland sweater and an artfully distressed leather biker jacket.
ralph lauren car collection 7

Ralph Lauren Car Collection

All the cars in the collection are road registered, though Lauren admits he struggles nowadays with some of the more capricious machines. But his age (he’s 77) is no barrier to enjoying the mindblowing performance of the superhybrid “megacars”. In the summer they’re shipped out to Montauk and to Colorado, where driving is a family activity. The reason there are two McLarens and two Porsches is simple. “I have two sons. Colorado is where we go to drive fast cars because it’s like a racetrack. Driving for 45 minutes through the mountains is just beautiful. I go driving with my wife, I go driving with Mark, I go with my kids. We sit there and someone says, “Let’s go driving”. It’s pretty fast but hopefully safe.” Reinwald sees a lot of Lauren. A collection this big takes a lot of management, not least the dispersal between homes in New York State, Montauk, Colorado and Jamaica. The only place where you won’t see Lauren at the wheel is in New York City, where he prefers to be driven in a Bentley Flying Spur or a more anonymous black American SUV.
ralph lauren car collection 8

He takes up position for a photograph next to his 1950 Jaguar XK120, immaculate of course but painted – like all five of his Jaguars – in Lauren’s own take on British Racing Green. As a colour it’s a little less stiff than BRG, a little more Mediterranean somehow, with its undertone of fat green olives. The quintessential 1950s British sports car painted in something… Italian? Just like combining biker with equestrian, it shouldn’t work, but it does. That’s Ralph Lauren, the man, the designer, and the multi-billion-dollar business: ideas, moods and imagery from anywhere his eye alights are reassembled, reshaped and repackaged into a seductive and sophisticated visual lingua franca as diverse as coastal America itself.
ralph lauren car collection 9

More than any other modern artifact, the automobile dramatically changed the way we live. Like any art form, car design reflects changes in fashion, technology, and societal attitudes. In its first exhibition devoted to car design, the MFA displays sixteen magnificent automobiles from the collection of world-renowned designer and car enthusiast Ralph Lauren, featuring some of history’s most memorable cars.
ralph lauren car collection 10

More than any other modern artifact, the automobile dramatically changed the way we live. Like any art form, car design reflects changes in fashion, technology, and societal attitudes. In its first exhibition devoted to car design, the MFA displays sixteen magnificent automobiles from the collection of world-renowned designer and car enthusiast Ralph Lauren, featuring some of history’s most memorable cars. Particularly noteworthy is a 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe (above). Its elegance is nearly matched, though, by the celebrated “Count Trossi” Mercedes-Benz SSK from 1930, with its flamboyant swept-back fenders and tapered tail. Complementing these pre-war beauties are sleek racers from the 1950s and ’60s, including an example of the legendary Jaguar XKD; a sporty Porsche 550 Spyder; and famed models from the house of Ferrari, such as the 250 Testa Rossa and the GTO. The line and shape of these cars are no less impressive than the works of brilliant sculptors; viewers will be amazed by the wealth of detail to be found in the wheels, grills, and even the gas caps. Enjoy a wonderful opportunity to admire some of this past century’s finest automotive design.

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