Ralph Lauren has pledged to restore one of Paris’ most famous art institutions, the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. The American fashion titan will fund a two-year modernisation project, which it will celebrate by hosting a catwalk show in the school’s grounds on October 8.
According to market sources, the project represents a financial commitment of several million dollars. Lauren’s first showing on a European runway will spotlight his fall women’s collection, with the designer also hosting a gala dinner in the school’s picturesque cobble-stoned courtyard. Lauren plans to unveil his spring women’s collection on Sept. 12 during New York Fashion Week, in keeping with his usual show timing.
The École des Beaux-Arts, which has hosted an array of fashion shows and parties over the years, is a sprawling complex of buildings, mainly from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, prized for their elaborate frescoes, moldings and statuary. But much of the building and courtyard is in need of significant restoration.
The funds Ralph Lauren Corp. is providing are designated to restore the semicircular lecture theater at the heart of the school with its 90-foot Raphael-esque mural by Paul Delaroche. While preserving its period splendor, the amphitheater will receive improved stadium seating and the latest audio-visual equipment.