Ralph Lauren's approach to car collecting elevates the automobile to high art. Lauren's private garage in Westchester County, New York, is a minimalist temple to motoring. Here his own custom-trimmed Mercedes 280SE - his very first car - sits alongside some of rarest, most iconic and spectacular automobiles ever made.
The collection extends to around 60 cars, kept inside a deliberately non-descript structure that keeps its secrets closely guarded. Inside, thanks to design input from the Polo Ralph Lauren interiors team, the collection is displayed in a truly reverent fashion, part Zen garden, part Rothko Room, with every car placed on a carefully lit pedestal, yet kept maintained and primed for instant use.
Invitations to this automotive nirvana are somewhat limited, but a new exhibition in Paris successfully takes Lauren's garage aesthetic into the public realm. The Musée des Arts Décoratifs plays host to 17 cars from the collection, including a brace of Bugattis, Mercedes and Ferraris, a couple of Alfas, and rarely seen machines from Bentley, McLaren, Jaguar and Porsche.
The show has been curated by Rodolphe Rapetti, Head Curator of the French National Heritage, and put on display by the French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Arranged chronologically, the display charts the evolution of car design from the inter-war period to the modern era, with the focus on the artistry that evolved from race engineering.
The cars on display date back seven decades and represent a rich life of careful collecting and deep enthusiasm. With several of the classics making their public display debut, this is a rare chance to savour one of the world's best-kept car collections.