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The City as Inspiration

Celebrating the detail, drama, and beauty of New York’s Art Deco landmarks

The timeless elegance of Art Deco architecture and design has long been a key source of inspiration for Ralph Lauren. It’s as clear today as it was in 1974, when Mr. Lauren helped bring the Roaring ’20s to life by designing Robert Redford’s wardrobe in the Academy Award–winning film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Over the years, Mr. Lauren has applied the Art Deco movement’s patterns to silk ties and jacquard evening jackets, and for the Spring 2017 Purple Label collection he extends that treatment to sweaters, creating a black-and-white crewneck that reimagines one of New York City’s most iconic Art Deco landmarks—the Chrysler Building—in fine Italian knitwear.

As an homage to the buildings that quite literally form this backdrop, photographer Scott Rudin, who works exclusively with film, canvassed Manhattan to capture the Art Deco moments that caught his eye. With not a cloud in the sky, the stark angularity of each tower’s exterior contrasts with the elegant detailing of elevator doors, chandeliers, and other details, reminding everyone who crosses the thresholds of these beautiful buildings that they’re walking into works of art—and among continual sources of inspiration.
  • Left: A Rockefeller Plaza relief of the goddess Columbia. Right: the exterior of 70 PineLeft: A Rockefeller Plaza relief of the goddess Columbia. Right: the exterior of 70 Pine
  • Left: The towers of the El Dorado. Right: a detail from the lobby of 100 BarclayLeft: The towers of the El Dorado. Right: a detail from the lobby of 100 Barclay
  • Left: Chandeliers inside the lobby at 100 Barclay. Right: the Empire State BuildingLeft: Chandeliers inside the lobby at 100 Barclay. Right: the Empire State Building
  • Inside the Empire State BuildingInside the Empire State Building
  • Left: The frieze above the main entrance at 30 Rockefeller Center, at left. Right: the Roman god MercuryLeft: The frieze above the main entrance at 30 Rockefeller Center, at left. Right: the Roman god Mercury
  • The façade of the Empire State BuildingThe façade of the Empire State Building
  • Left: The Chrysler Building. Right: Art Deco reliefs at Rockefeller CenterLeft: The Chrysler Building. Right: Art Deco reliefs at Rockefeller Center
  • The elevator doors at 100 BarclayThe elevator doors at 100 Barclay
  • Left: The Empire State Building. Right: an Art Deco relief at Rockefeller CenterLeft: The Empire State Building. Right: an Art Deco relief at Rockefeller Center
  • ALL PHOTOGRAPHS BY SCOTT RUDIN