Our early winter get-away this year was to Chicago. It was our first time being there. We have always chosen New York over Chicago, and after this trip, I am not sure why. Chicago is a fantastic city. The “Magnificent Mile” is nothing short of its name. On these trips, we are constantly searching for design inspiration. One of the easiest places to find it is at a Ralph Lauren flagship store. The Chicago outpost does not disappoint.
The first floor is dripping with Ralph Lauren signature style. Antique Persian rugs underfoot, luxurious fabrics everywhere you look, and more mahogany than a rain forest. Add in an impeccably dressed staff, beautiful merchandise, and end-of-season sales, and it is a shoppers paradise.
I could not resist the temptation to be a tourist in this interior design wonderland. The attention to detail in this store is beyond expectation. Every where you look is another original detail. The artwork is amazing. It is well curated, grouped to make sense, and hung in the most creative fashion. The stair ways are a perfect example of how creative the design is. These are areas that often times go forgotten. Ralph Lauren has not missed an opportunity to make sure you know where you are every minute you are in the store. Antique paintings floor to ceiling in the stairs is a great way to let your clients know where they are. In the above photo, equine images are grouped around a fantastic antique English clock. Sisal underfoot conjurs manor houses of the United Kingdom
The above photo shows one of my favorite signature Ralph Lauren holiday looks. The wide plaid fabric draped to the lantern is a creative, understated touch for Christmas. Note the herringbone floors, another of the endless details.
The main stairs take you to a grand castle in Scotland. How could this be Chicago? Beautifully polished mahogany paneling, scores of serious art, blue and white porcelain to brighten it up, and stairs wide enough for semi trucks to pass; it just doesn’t get any better. Even the ceiling is period appropriate. The same art hanging technique is equally effective on mahogany as it is on the sisal of the upper floor stairs, but definitely more dressed up.
One of my favorite spots in the store is the necktie salon. This is a great place for ideas, and the source of the majority of my bow tie collection. See how warm the red silk shades make the space feel. A simple traditional brass chandelier suddenly becomes fashionable with this bright detail. Mahogany, old rugs, and more fabulous art top it off.
The Home Gallery on the fourth floor is also inspiring. In this vignette, fabrics from Ralph Lauren’s “Indian Cove Lodge” collection make you want to sit down and have a brandy. The furniture is also fabulous, and is now available through Todd Richesin Interiors, as are all the Ralph Lauren wallpapers and fabrics. My favorite, the spool chair in “Sagamore Check.” So sophisticated, understated, and chic.
After spending so much time in the store, there is one place I had to visit before leaving. What a treat. A public restroom with total privacy, fantastic style, and meticulously maintained. The art was whimsical, and the marble floors and counters say quality. The unusual sconce application is totally inventive and a signature Ralph Lauren look.