SANTA BARBARA – Considered one of the most desirable cities in California, Santa Barbara is a beautiful piece of paradise on the central coast-known for its Spanish and Mediterranean style architecture, and temperate climate. In the 18th century, the Spanish took possession of Santa Barbara and as such, much of the lasting architectural influence stems from that. In the late 19th/early 20th century through much of California and especially in Santa Barbara, the Spanish Revival style became immensely popular. Comfortable, casual pretty much sums up Santa Barbara’s style of dress, though evening wear may be dressier in some areas. Its early mornings, evenings, nights are cool enough for a T.Walker shirt.
RALPH LAUREN – The genius of Ralph Lauren has always been his boundless imagination-an imagination that inspired his creative vision, to artfully blend his passion and spirit for design, with the passion and spirit of culture
I remember when the doors opened to Ralph Lauren’s first retail store in downtown Manhattan. It was my first job with Polo Ralph Lauren and the face of retail downtown, was about to get a lift. Our store was a cozy concept store full of props and product-in a building on West Broadway, in the Soho district-the orbit of inherent artiness. The store’s setting was transformed to articulate the design room, melting Ralph’s iconic brands, brining the customer even closer to the designer’s process of vision, inspiration, experience. To the store’s immediate, right, was Ok cigar, a cozy cigar shop owned by a gentleman named Lenny, who was always friendly and helpful. Immediately next to Ok cigar was a spacious sunny loft space, where all of our fashion shows were held. During fashion week, some of the industry’s most creative minds descended in droves, creating a scene up and down West Broadway. Everyone wanted to get their hands on the product and a little inspiration from the store’s decor-it was simply the place to be. I even remember that one time Vanity Fair throw one of their epic parties at the store for a book launch, with Tom and Penelope Cruz as guests of honor. And boy was that a fun night for all. It was simply an awesome time to be working for Ralph Lauren, especially in Soho.
Events and parties downtown were chic and the scene friendly. In the evenings the aroma of fresh perfume filled the air, as sidewalks came alive with stylish people. We couldn’t wait for Fridays to attend the jam session at a spot down the block called 357 Magnum, where African drummers performed simultaneously with the DJ, and where bumping into Lenny Kravitz, Lou Diamond Phillips, or even the energetic Mick Jagger, was the norm. Oh, and who could forget Boom?! Yes, just around the corner on a dimly lit Spring St, was Boom Cafe-a true favorite hangout for our staff. Boom cafe was charmingly designed with Tuscan style brick walls, from front to back, and had a great vibe and energy to it. On Sunday nights, manager and owner Maximilian threw one the sickest parties, that attracted some of the coolest people, with the DJ set up at the back, spinning exotic tunes. It was the late 90s and here we were, an entirely new staff assembled, during a booming economy, basking in the glow of the new arrival of an old iconic brand. Conveniently across the street from our store, was Cipriani downtown, where our crew after work, frequently rounded off the evening, with the most delicious Bellinis, mouth watering calamari, and freshly baked bread sticks. Of course those were the days Cipriani flew quietly under the radar and away from the static.
Now that Ralph Lauren turns 75 today, I recall one of my fondest memories during those days, while working for Polo Ralph Lauren. It was during one of Ralph’s earlier birthdays, and our then-store manager, though it was a great idea, to collectively find Ralph the perfect birthday present. As you can only imagine, this was a tall challenge. I mean, hello?! What do you get a man of many tastes, for his birthday, a radiant being, who seemingly has everything?! Well after meandering around ideas for several blissful days, many hours and conversations, our Then-head of vintage and curator Bob Melet, came to the rescue with the perfect gift. He found an American flag, made entirely of Vintage denim, dating all the way back to the early 1900s. And since Ralph loves denim so much, and is very passionate about the American flag-it was a match made in heaven! Several days later, addressed to the store’s entire crew, was a hand written, thank you note from Ralph Lauren himself, telling us how much he loved his present!
Happy Birthday, Mr Lauren.
What I do is about living. It’s about living the best life you can and enjoying the fullness of the life around you-from what you wear, to the way you live, to the way you love.