Tell us about your experience at Ralph Lauren. Please note if you work at one of the corporate locations or in the field/stores.
I worked in corporate, in design, in “the mansion”. At the time, it had major pros and cons. Pro was you were part of something special - no project was too crazy or expensive to consider. The resources were incredible - for a presentation, you could go to a furniture warehouse to pick out appropriate props. There were a lot of creatives there at that time who were just fashion crazed and really understood the history of vintage product and details. The other aspect was storytelling…when Ralph came up with a concept (along with the concept team), the level of detail to build that story out was remarkable. If the theme was set in a location, designers would research the materials and patterns and trims to take that inspiration to the next level. So, the cons…in addition to those inspired people were many who had worked there for 15+ years, often they had been plucked from a retail store for nothing more than good looks. There were also the grifters who pocketed the props and vintage artifacts with a blatant looting spree. Talented people who came in from other companies, especially at higher levels, were often overlooked or pushed out by the inner circle. Still, it felt like something special at the time and I learned a ton.
If I had those resources I could design for the Gods! Unfortunately, many companies don’t have that kind of money to throw around and designers are pressured to be creative with very little to work with… no travel budget, no props… just the internet, local shops, and magazines. You were very lucky to be able to experience that! Bravo! You got to do what designers think they will be doing when they dream about their careers in school.
What’s “the mansion”? Is it the collections?
It’s what they call HQ 650 Madison.
I worked freelance at the Mansion for 3 months a while back. My boss was great but was working there 12 + hours a day in a small office without windows. She seemed quite unhappy. After the meeting presentation to Ralph the theme was completely changed and we had to start all over after 1 month 1/2 soent on putting a story togther. I was paid by the hour so it didn’t really matter to me at the time but I can only imagine how the team felt. Prestigious time and place yet very demanding. I was offered a full time job there after my 3 months of freelance but declined as the pay would barely cover my rent and basic expenses.
I thought RL paid pretty good?
The people who worked in the main HQ, called it the mansion. It looks like a normal office building from the outside, but the main lobby is a two story mahogany space with antiques and art.
@yoda I worked there for 7 years. 650 isn’t called the mansion. It’s called 650. Anyone who has worked for RL for a substantial length of time knows that we all identify by our building number.
Huh, @Yoda I’ve heard 650 called both things from my time working on their product. Unless they have creative offices at the flagship I don’t know about…
Hi, there’s a lot of floors in the 650 building that are far removed from the main creative hub of the building. If you worked directly for JL and RL in that area, you called it the Mansion. If you worked in another division, you may not have ever heard that. The creative design team were never so concerned with names of the retail stores because that was the last stop of the product and by then, we were a year or two ahead on the next seasons. An the uptown store was just one of many world wide. But this is really getting off topic so I hope this is not a sign of future Schmatte threads.
@yoda yup you are totally right 650 is called the mansion. Not the Reading Room on the 6th floor. Just so we don’t get off topic.