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Ralph Lauren Creative Director Mary Randolph Carter on The Virtues of Junk



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Mary Randolph Carter, or Carter, as she’s known, has worked high up at fashion house Ralph Lauren for decades. She’s currently the creative director. That’s her day job.

In her free time, she collects stuff. She calls it junk. And she’s got a lot of junk.

In her New York apartment, her walls are filled with old pictures. There are books stacked under desks, along the walls, sometimes out in the open. If you’re sitting on her sofa with a drink, your best bet is to probably hold onto it: more often than not, her coffee table, surely an antique, is covered in vases, little sculptures, and more books. Always more books.

Does her place look busy? Yeah, a little. But it doesn’t look cluttered. It’s deliberate. It’s thoughtful. Welcoming. Everything has a story.

Mary has authored a handful of books about junk: photos of flea markets, guides to antique stores, and design inspiration. Her design philosophy is summarized in her book titles: A Perfectly Kept House is the Sign of A Misspent Life , Never Stop to Think… Do I Have a Place for This?, and her latest The Joy of Junk: Go Right Ahead, Fall In Love With The Wackiest Things, Find The Worth In The Worthless, Rescue & Recycle The Curious Objects That Give Life & Happiness.

Mary talks to Jesse about meeting Ralph Lauren for the first time and why great junk finding in New York is easy.