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.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)