The world of Ralph Lauren keeps getting bigger and more distinctive, a strategy that is positioning the company to continue its growth spiral.
In a walk-through of the spring collection at his New York offices Tuesday, Lauren expressed optimism that his company, which last week posted a 52.4 percent jump in first-quarter profits, will maintain its strong showing in the future. “We have a lot of international growth [ahead of us],” he said. “It’s not just about the store on the corner in New Jersey anymore; it’s the world.”
The company has set its sights on growing its wholesale and retail distribution in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and plans call for launching e-commerce in France and Germany before the end of the year. Lauren said Tuesday that Brazil is also a growth area.
“Brazil is getting to be like Italy — very stylish and a love of life, and they are willing to pay for it,” the designer said.
Lauren noted that whether in Brazil, Asia or Europe, the company’s ability to target a wide range of shoppers with its varying labels — everything from the luxury-level Purple Label to the more-democratic Polo line, as well as Double RL sportswear and RLX activewear — allows it to operate “on the main street or a hip side street.”
The breadth of that offering was evident for spring in a series of vignettes that brought each of the sublabels to life.
Starting with Purple Label, Lauren said the spring collection is “much more adventurous” and targeted to the “dandy guy. It’s for the young guy who wants the ultimate in quality fashion.” Described as “a little retro but not old-fashioned,” the sophisticated offering harkened back to “The Great Gatsby” with its bold pattern-on-pattern suits with slim lapels, double-breasted vests and trim silhouettes. The neckwear, which sported bold patterns, was juxtaposed with small-collared dress shirts. In addition to a black-and-white story, there was a navy grouping, as well as one focused on browns and creams, much of it shown monochromatically. “It’s a different way to wear a suit for spring,” Lauren said. “It’s bold yet minimal.”
Two-toned shoes, based on a model that Lauren had created 25 years ago, provided a finishing touch. “The shoes lift the suit,” Lauren said.
The Black Label collection is “for the sleek, modern guy,” he said, with the core black and gray suits livened up with pops of lavender and blue. Suit models were low-cut two-button styles or six-button double-breasted and nipped at the waist, and shirts had small collars. “It’s a tight concept,” he said. “This is not a trendy guy, but he’s cool.”
Black Label sportswear made a statement with eye-popping accents of racing-color yellow and green. Pants and shorts were slim, and leather shirts were a surprise addition. “This guy drives a Ferrari,” Lauren said.
Black Label Denim, which was introduced last season, has been expanded for spring with a safari-inspired grouping, unconstructed jackets, chinos and bleached-out and colored denim.
The flagship Polo collection continues to speak to the “diehard preppy,” Lauren said, with natural-shoulder three-button jackets with wider lapels and traditional patterns of herringbones, gabardines or plaids. Weekend sportswear looks included drawstring cargoes, khakis, fishermen sweaters and vintage ethnic prints inspired by mountaineering and camping — or: “Heritage pieces done in a new way,” according to Lauren. There was also a country-club grouping with seersucker and patchwork patterns. “This gives him ammunition for the weekend,” Lauren said.
The Double RL offering featured more tailored pieces and furnishings for spring, allowing this “cult” customer to shop for a complete wardrobe. “We opened a store on Bleecker Street, and it’s doing very well,” he said. “There’s so much interest in suits in Double RL.”
The RLX active line was an explosion of color, with an infusion of bright oranges and lime greens. Although high fashion, the collection is also high performance, targeted to the runner, mountain climber or sailor.
The company also showcased an array of accessories, everything from tie bars and cuff links to all iterations of leather bags. The company’s shoe collection has been expanded, ranging from classic British lace-ups to espadrilles and boat shoes.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye