NEW YORK — After breaking new fashion ground with virtual runway outings for its Rugby and Lauren by Ralph Lauren lines, Polo Ralph Lauren is bringing the new fall children’s wear collection to the Web later this month.
But rather than have a gaggle of children walk down a virtual runway in the way models did for Rugby and Lauren, Polo created an interactive, online storybook with characters in full Ralph regalia. Dubbed “The RL Gang,” the story line evolves around the first day of school after summer, and features eight real-life children making their way through an illustrated world narrated by Harry Connick Jr.
“It started with the idea of doing a fashion show,” David Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.’s senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications, said. “Everyone felt that we needed to push it even further. We could create something that would celebrate the tradition and family spirit of Ralph Lauren.”
The story features the children on their first day back at school. When their teacher, Professor Randolph Lattimer, opens “The Incredible Book of Fantastic Things” and asks the young ones to close their eyes, they are taken to a fantasy world that is perfect but for one dying apple tree. The kids rescue the tree by watering it. The story concludes with each child deciding who to give the apples to. The storybook, which is launching in an exclusive partnership with Bloomingdale’s, targets children ages two and eight with looks from the collection that shoppers can click on and purchase through ralphlauren.com and bloomingdales.com. It will launch Aug. 18.
“The experience was really [conceived] as a shoppable storybook,” Lauren said. “But we didn’t want them to just shop by template. Beyond being able to shop the video while the story is going on, you can also go into the closet of any character.”
In other words, children who identify with a specific character also can choose to get a glimpse into each character’s virtual closet, which features many other pieces from the fall collection that are available for sale.
An $18.95 hard copy of the book is also available on-demand at Tikatok.com.
Polo sells its children’s wear worldwide, and is translating the virtual story into eight languages.
For the first month, 15 percent of the proceeds from sales of the line on ralphlauren.com will go to the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in New Orleans’ Musician’s Village. Connick was instrumental in its creation after Hurricane Katrina hit the region.
Ralphlauren.com celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and recently introduced several innovative concepts, including an online tennis clinic with Boris Becker during the Wimbledon tennis championships. “Because this is our 10th anniversary, we are really trying to roll out something new every month that is ground breaking and changes the way people use the Internet,” Lauren said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast