American Rustic: Design Notebook – The New York Times

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“Ralph perfected this aesthetic,” said Williams. “I think they are the envy of everyone.”

Stories abound of how the company’s buyers paint Brimfield, the three-yearly antique show in Massachusetts, looking for items that epitomize its carefully calibrated look. A number of collectors in this small world have worked for, or had business dealings with, Ralph Lauren: Mr. Lewis, for example, created the weathered wood Rs that decorate some of the company’s stores in Manhattan; Greenwich, Connecticut and Japan.

Ralph Lauren was one of the inspirations for Free & Easy, a monthly magazine published in Japan, where a niche group of collectors are enamored with the emblems of a certain vintage American virility, that of houndstooth and denim. , motorcycles and fountain pens. Mrs. Howard’s shop also has a large number of Japanese people, she said, and Mr. Williams noted that some of the designers he knows think “the Japanese basically taught us everything we knew about the collecting all these things “.

Minako Ito, a representative for the magazine in New York, said it has around 150,000 to 200,000 readers and targets Japanese men in their 40s and 50s. But several American fashion designers, buyers and stylists she met in New York City know him, she wrote in an email.

“’Rugged’ is the magazine’s keyword,” she added. “Steve McQueen is his icon.”

DAVID COGGINS, 35, a writer who lives in a one-bedroom apartment in the West Village, has featured in three issues of Free & Easy, most recently in a club chair post, of which he has three. (He can currently be seen in an advertisement for Bushmills displayed and painted across town, something Mr. Williams, a friend who also appears in the commercial, arranged; Mr. Coggins received bottles of whiskey.) Mrs. Howard’s apartment is a cabin, Mr. Coggins’s is a men’s club.

The living room with windows on three sides is filled with books and, at last count, 20 rugs. Portraits of Argentinian football teams from the 1930s sit on the shelves, and the books are so carefully organized – by size, color and theme – that it’s no surprise to learn that when Mr Coggins moved in in apartment one A little over a year ago, he recreated the book display from his old house, using a photograph he had taken from the shelves as a reference.

The books piled on the floor are the ones he hasn’t read yet. “I come from a family of book stackers,” he says. It is also a family of designers: his mother makes interiors; his father is an artist and scenographer.

Mr Coggins retires each summer to his family’s home in Wisconsin, bringing his work (he writes for magazines and websites, and collaborates on a book for Taschen on the world’s most expensive items) and spends time to fly fishing and wander the woods. His New York apartment and his character are an urban and urban translation of this life.

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