DOUBLE RL RANCH | PASS THE TEE PEE

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Ah man… it’s late on a Friday and I wish I was headin’ to the ranch to chill in my tee pee– just me and my peace pipe.  But alas– no rest for the wicked, as they say.  I’ve got a Saturday gig now that keeps me close to home, but the upside is sweet.  I’ll fill you in later.  Back to the tee pee– Ralph (who else) has a full working ranch out in Colorado, and it’s authentic right down to the… well, it’s as authentic as someone with his kind of dough and taste wants it to be.  Set on over 15,000 acres, there’s lots of room to lose yourself and forget about cranking-out mesh shirts with little polo players on them, and just enjoy the simple life– in your own private Wild West fantasy.  Ah, the simple joys of a humble life on the ranch…

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ralph lauren double rl ranch

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“We started out with an idea of what the West was like,” Lauren said. “But what we thought was there wasn’t there. No large houses, no hunting lodges—not even a fence, like a split-rail fence.”

But he found the place he was looking for, a half hour from Telluride. He has since added to his acreage and now owns “15,000 or 16,000 acres”—he is not sure. “It was a little bit like pioneering,” Lauren said. “Someone told us about a barn that was 100 years old on this property. We saw the barn. We fell in love with the place.”

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double rl barn

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“Colorado was for us an escape. It wasn’t about being in fashion. It wasn’t about saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have this cute ranch!’ It was about a life that would be different, that would be freer—that would have nature and trees and animals and big sky.”

He built the ranch from scratch, and it reflects his active life and his sense of style, his wish fulfillment. When I asked him about his routine, he became very specific. “I get up in the morning and run. I come back, take a swim, work out. I built a very good gym for myself. Then we go horseback riding or take a drive. I have sports cars there and some old Ford trucks, some Jeeps, a red Ferrari. I like the diversity of speed and also riding an old pickup truck up the mountains.”

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ralph lauren double rl ranch

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The place is more than a ranch with horses and cattle; it is, like all of Lauren’s houses, a design opportunity and a source of inspiration.

He admits he has had only the most modest education. “I never went to fashion school, I never studied design, I dropped out of college.”

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ralph lauren double rl ranch

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Plainspoken, he is an unboastful, earnest and intensely watchful person. And he is helpfully concise about his trajectory, from reimagining his first necktie in 1967 to designing just about everything these days—“a one-man Bauhaus,” as he has been called, though the word Bauhaus might not have entered his vocabulary until rather late.

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ralph lauren double rl airstream trailer

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Although he is an enthusiast and has a powerful visual sense and is relentlessly creative, he can be somewhat inarticulate. Ask him what he likes about the West, and he mentions an assortment of physical objects—the century-old barn, “animals, trees,” and also “saddlery, old leathers, oldness.” You know what he means, but you cannot quite see it.

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hosl20_lauren

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His verbal imprecision seems to have given him an instinctive connoisseurship for the texture of the world, the pulses of the air, a feeling for atmosphere, for the mood of physical objects. He understands that the things we wear and the things we use and the places we inhabit cast a spell upon us, as well as making an impression on others. When I hinted at this, he did not disagree. He said, “I write through my clothes.”

On the way back to Manhattan, talking with Carrington Williams, Lauren’s personal chauffeur for the past 25 years, I said, “He knows how to live.”

Williams said, “He do.”

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ralph lauren tee pee

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ralph lauren rrl tee pee

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rrl tee pee

Doug Bihlmeier relaxing and taking in his incredible handiwork.

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ralph lauren tee pee double rl

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double rl colorado ranch tee pee

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double rl ranch tee pee

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rrl tee pee

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Text and some pics via AD

 

22 thoughts on “DOUBLE RL RANCH | PASS THE TEE PEE

  1. JP, this brings us a side of Lauren that most of us have never seen: we’ve all come across photos of the ranch, or read a few quotes, but it doesn’t seem there’s ever been anything like this to give us a glimpse of the man behind it all.

    Once again, you’ve put words and pictures together and created (in concise fashion!) a story that’s bigger than we realized. And even more fascinating. Really: you’ve got the gift.

    Lauren, as we might have guessed, seems like he’s just a terrifically great guy. Someone who understands what it’s like to want to be surrounded by beauty (which, I believe, most of us want; it’s in our nature) and by people he cares about. Someone who wants to excel at the career he chose. (Which he has clearly done, to the benefit of so very many.)

    How fortunate we are that you’ve brought us this view. It’s stunning: the vision is articulated through so much more than words. Magnificent work.

  2. Great post! Is this the same Doug Bilmier that has been featured on the Satrorialist blog in the past?

  3. Great, as always. One question – is Carrington Williams the driver’s real, given, name? Or was it “given” by Ralph?

  4. You rule, Antonio.

    I was waiting to see if anyone else would notice the bong, sunglasses and leather (where I stash my weed) bag on the bed.

    Too good.

  5. on a more practical level, that lamp looks awful close to the tent. Id hate to burn candles in there….. also the horses on the tent are a little overkill . Nice blankets…..

  6. absolutely GLORIOUS, or rather, a new word could possibly be created right here and now to somehow encapsulate the imagination herein. This, precisely, is why I love Ralph.

    Ralph and my father are birds of a feather, really. Both jewish boys from the Bronx who grew up applying Wild West fantasy to the everday. My dad’s place upstate, “The Hollow”, is like a micro version of the above (with more Rock and Roll peppered in) and a total sanctuary for me. Hoping to inherit the Navajo weavings, Beacons and Pendletons sooner than later.

    But I do find that most of my contempories (20-something’s) don’t really “get it”. When I tell them I’d like to outfit my dream place as such, I usually get this: “seriously?” An acquired taste, shall we say. Ralph certainly romanticizes the hell out of it!

  7. Ralph is cool, but a bit contrived for my taste. He does it well, but I wonder where it comes from and what motivates him? Having said that, it’s all very beautiful. Great shots.

  8. Ralph is a taste- maker, a style- setter; what else need be said? And think about it – this is just one piece of his life, a getaway as he says…I’m not in to the RL aesthetic in fashion but I certainly appreciate his overall gestalt.

  9. Pingback: The Double RL Ranch / Blog / Need Supply Co.

  10. Man, too much awesomeness for one day. That tee pee is my dream home.
    I don’t know anything about this dude but i am in NZ, the tee pee and barn rock though.

  11. Doug Bihlmaier has been the unsung heart and soul of RL for many years. When you look at RL what you are looking at is DB. When you look at RRL you are looking at the DB aesthetic. RL’s greatness is letting his trusted team set out and explore, define, create, edit and grow.

  12. Well done. I do have a story…

    I was driving from Grand Junction to Telluride in the early 90′s. Nature called, so I pulled off the road for a pit stop. As I was getting back in the car, a fellow motorist slowed down to ask if I needed help. Very nice guy… with a familiar face! I finally pieced it together after I drove by the “Double RL Ranch”.

  13. Mr. And mrs. R. Lauren obviously know what is important for happiness in this world because they seem to be very grounded and in touch with the environment in a spiritual way. Bravo to the Manhatten cowboy and cowgirl and their beautiful offspring!

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