Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

In Ralph Lauren’s Garage

The iconic designer entwines cars and fashion in Bedford



Like a Porsche  911, Ralph Lauren’s public relations machine is well-oiled and  air-cooled. Though his tan, smiling visage is as iconic as James Bond’s Aston Martin DB9, the public knows little to nothing about Lauren’s activities, politics, philanthropy, philosophy, or whether he likes it shaken rather than stirred. To put it lightly, Ralph Lauren’s life of luxury is as secluded and private as the backseat of a Maybach.

And that’s the way it is with Lauren’s renowned car collection—commonly perceived to be one of the finest in the world yet secretly stored and maintained, and truly unknown and unseen by all but a few.

So I was fairly excited when I wrangled access in September to the nondescript industrial building, not far from his Bedford manse, where Lauren keeps some portion of his gems and, like seeing the Crown Jewels, I was stunned by what was displayed but left still unsure how much more lay hidden back at the castle. (He will not reveal how many cars he owns, their total estimated value, or the highest amount he’s ever paid for any one, how many people he employs to curate, maintain, and transport the collection, or even which car is his favorite.)

Lauren was lifting the skirt on a couple dozen of his finest girls as the featured attraction of a limited-invitation-only fashion show to celebrate his 50th-anniversary line, but unlike getting into Hef’s mansion there was absolutely no touching nor photos allowed. Lauren’s “garage” is nothing short of a museum. No greasy mechanical area or trays of Snap-On tools, just two stories of sparkling clean black floors and shiny metal railings, immaculate white leather furniture, a sound system that mimics race cars circling a track, and each one-off, specimen or otherwise uniquely equipped vehicle up on its own pedestal to be adored like the David.

Only once before, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts show in 2005 and in the book about that exhibition titled Speed Style and Beauty, had Lauren exposed any of his collection for public view, and the multi-million-dollar Ferraris, Bugattis, McLarens, and Porsches on view for at least the fashion world to glimpse did not disappoint.   

Ralph Lauren’s passion for cars is about style—life and fashion. He talks about a direct connection between car design and fashion design and pays tribute to certain automobiles as the inspiration for elements of his furniture, glasses, and clothing. As the New York Times observed about his 50th-anniversary spectacle: “There were racing stripes down the sides of tuxedo trousers ... and F1 jackets over full chiffon skirts. ... All designers take their inspiration where they can find it ... but rarely is the relationship quite so obvious.”

For Lauren, cars are a part of his belief in timeless style: “I love things that are worn and weathered, that get better with age, and things made by hand that are truly one-of-a-kind. That’s what real luxury is all about.”  

More revealing, however, is how the cars Lauren collects and drives reflect his vision of himself and how he encounters the world around him. I’ve spotted the long-time Bedford resident in a rare Porsche 959, an orange Lamborghini, an old MG, and in at least a couple amazing vintage Ferraris, when he’s been driving through Pound Ridge on Westchester Avenue or parked on Elm Street to stop in for a visit at his New Canaan store. So, I asked him how he decides which car to take out on any given day.

He explains: “What we wear is very much who we are, just like the cars we choose to drive. Cars, like clothes, are an embodiment of your personal style. Deciding what car to drive is like deciding what clothes to wear. Similar to how you dress for your mood, the car you drive is a reflection of how you are feeling.

It’s how I am feeling that day, what mood I am in. Each has a different sound, a different feel on the road—they offer different experiences. My cars are housed in Westchester, but I have some in all of my homes so I can enjoy them in every environment.

When I am in Bedford, I might choose a Ferrari to drive around the curved wood lanes of Westchester. When I’m at the beach, I might take a spin in one of my vintage Jeeps.” Then he added, humorously, “In Jamaica, I walk.”

“I drive my cars in different places, but one of my favorite routes is along the winding roads of Bedford,” says Lauren, (shown right) arriving at the intimate seated dinner that he hosted among his collection in Bedford Hills.

He’s nostalgic about his father’s 1949 Pontiac with the torpedo fins that he had to share with his brothers growing up in the Bronx, and the white with red leather ’61 Morgan that was the first car he owned, and when I asked why he hadn’t tracked down those specific vehicles for re-purchase (like I’m looking to find my old navy blue 1970 MG Midget), he responded, “Good idea. I’ll start working on that!” Similarly, when I asked about his favorite item of clothing for the holidays, he responded, “I love my old, hand-knit reindeer sweaters. I had a similar one when I was growing up.”

Although his rugged outdoorsy image is carefully crafted, maybe this guy really is more a well-worn Land Rover Defender than a new Bugatti Veyron. And while he certainly does have one of the priciest and most enviable collections of top-end cars ever assembled, you get the sense that his favorite time might be more about the wind rushing through his hair going down some country road and in a car worthy because of the way it makes him feel, than whether he’s driving something worth tens of millions.


Stars at the event included (left) Katie Holmes, Jessica Chastain, Diane Kea­ton, Ricky Lauren, and Dylan Lauren arrived in black chauffeured limousines.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2018

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Join us for a FREE lecture! Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. However, the fear of falling doesn’t need to rule your life. Learn strategies for preventing falls and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Health Tully Health Center
32 Strawberry Hill Court
1st Floor Auditorium
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS Sports Rehab
Telephone: 203-705-2933
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Wednesday, November 14th at 4:00 PM. Open to all ages. Decorate an apple with candy to make it look like a turkey! This event is free and no registration is required. Co-sponsored with the NS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a behind-the-scenes, private tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Jewelry: The Body Transformed with Curator of American Decorative Arts, Beth Carver Wees. Followed by lunch and...

Cost: Member price: $50 Non-Member price: $60

Where:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenune
New York, NY   10028
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555

More information

Join Laura’s brother Jan, and singers Diane Garisto and Kate Ferber for an evening of live music, stories and videos of this Rock & Roll Hall of Fame trailblazer.   Laura Nyro, posthumously...

Cost: 50.00

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Road
bedford, NY
View map »

More information

914INC. will host its annual Women in Business Luncheon, to be held in conjunction with the magazine’s Q4/Winter issue, showcasing leading area businesswomen.

Cost: Single Ticket: $85 / Table of Ten: $800

Where:
DoubleTree by Hilton
455 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: 914INC and Westchester Magazine
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Meet us under the Dome and catch all the excitement! Come out for the 16th Annual Festival of Trees to benefit Ann’s Place at the Danbury Sports Dome for a weekend filled with live events...

Cost: Ages 3 to 64, $10; Seniors, $5; kids under 3, free.

Where:
Danbury Sports Dome
25 Shelter Rock Ln
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Michelle Frosch
Website »

More information

Friday mornings from 10:30 to 12:30. Free, no registration. Open to adults and older teens. Participants are asked to bring their own supplies in, but some basic supplies will be provided by the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Wise financial planning includes getting up to date values for jewelry, watches and other valuables tucked away in jewelry boxes and safe deposit boxes. To make an appointment for a complimentary...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
Website »

More information

Westchester Oratorio Society, Artistic Director Benjamin Niemczyk, opens its 21st season with a concert entitled, “An Evening with Bach” at the South Salem Presbyterian Church,...

Cost: $15 to $50

Where:
South Salem Presbyterian Church
111 Spring Street
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Westchester Oratorio Society
Telephone: 800 838 3006
Contact Name: Joe Spallina
Website »

More information

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters brings tradition steeped in possibility. The grace and wisdom of longtime fiddle player and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Molsky, described as “an absolute...

Cost: $25, $40, $55, $70

Where:
Rosen House Music Room
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
149 Girdle Ridge Rd
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Telephone: 914-232-1252
Website »

More information

On November 3rd, Heather Gaudio Fine Artis set to open “Room for Play,” a group exhibition featuring works by Ellen Carey, Deborah Kass, Robert...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Saturday, November 17th from 12:00 - 3:00 PM for kids K+. Plan on staying with your children and having fun together.   This year’s annual STEAMFEST will feature Mad Science’s special...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Meet us under the Dome and catch all the excitement! Come out for the 16th Annual Festival of Trees to benefit Ann’s Place at the Danbury Sports Dome for a weekend filled with live events...

Cost: Ages 3 to 64, $10; Seniors, $5; kids under 3, free.

Where:
Danbury Sports Dome
25 Shelter Rock Ln
Danbury, CT  06810
View map »


Sponsor: Ann's Place
Telephone: 203-790-6568
Contact Name: Michelle Frosch
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags