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April 27, 2011

Paris: Ralph Lauren Auto Show

By Candice Chan | Automobiles


With 60-plus models spanning almost a century, Ralph Lauren’s sports car compilation is considered one of the world’s finest, and as of April 28 he is sharing his treasures in "The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection" at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Seventeen of his cars—including a 1929 Bentley Blower, a 1933 Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix and a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO—were handpicked by curator Rodolphe Rapetti (with input from Lauren, of course) to illustrate the arc of European automobile design from the 1920s through the 1990s. "In the beginning, the cars are more obviously mechanical," Rapetti says. "But the evolution from one car to another is really obvious when you see the exhibition." Rapetti has also included an immersive element for true auto enthusiasts: Visitors can view archival film footage of each car in a historic race like France’s Le Mans, and hear the engine’s purr (or roar, as the case may be) from recent rubber-burning sessions near New York City. Don’t miss the 1996 McLaren F1 LM or the aerial view of the cars from the third floor. Rapetti phrased it well: "You have majors and minors in automobile history. These are only the major majors." For those who aren’t able to visit the museum, a specially designed catalogue, which includes an interview with Lauren and a foreword by Rapetti, is available at select Ralph Lauren stores (888-475-7674; ralphlauren.com). On view through Aug. 28 at 107 Rue de Rivoli, Paris; 33-1/44-55-57-50; lesartsdecoratifs.fr.

Photo Courtesy Michael Furman