NEW YORK — Spring previews at Polo Ralph Lauren showed insight into a multi-level brand strategy that grows ever more crystalline, making the sub-brands more identifiable than ever.
“You go from Polo to Purple Label, Black Label and RLX, which are all different,” said chairman and chief executive Ralph Lauren. “They could be worn by the same guy or they could be different. Some guys just say, ‘I’m a Black Label guy,’ or some guys only want the luxury of Purple Label. I could wear it all because I like playing with clothes and I like the diversity of a wardrobe.”
The first spring delivery of the Polo collection is a cheerful statement of vivid, saturated color, unabashed preppiness, and the appeal of looking pressed and pristine despite the proximity of (perhaps imaginary) horses.
That delivery gives way to a much more timeworn aesthetic. A nautical group is predominantly navy and white, with nearly everything washed and rumpled.
“This has a vintage quality but it’s mixed with cashmere, with wool,” Lauren said. A pinstripe jacket and vest, for example, turn out to be made of cashmere knit upon inspection. A black and white group is similarly textured, but with hints of vintage gym clothes. And the final Polo delivery is vintagey, South Pacific beachy. There is a yellowed madras shorts suit, an ink-stained trench, and swim trunks that have cargo styling and WWII-era screened graphics.
Moving on to RLX, the company has clearly worked hard to develop the identity of this sub-brand.
“You know that RLX is technological product, but we’ve made it into fashion,” Lauren said. “It’s got style and sleekness and modernness.”
Utilitarian and aviator-influenced pieces mix with polished pieces and metallic accessories to give the collection an upscale vibe that should suit the private-jet-share set. The company has also found that RLX integrates well with Ralph Lauren Black Label, from a styling standpoint.
The full Black Label collection offers streamlined tailoring and buttery leathers. Some surprising colors, like tangerine and turquoise, have been injected, but whittled silhouettes with narrow ties and lapels, along with an absence of pattern or embellishment, keep the overall effect relatively minimalist.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label, on the other hand, is the most luxurious and most custom-made offering and therefore more flamboyant. Yacht-worthy ensembles of dark jackets and brightly colored linen pants are finished with a brilliant neckerchief, ascot or 4 1/4-inch tie in a paisley or English floral pattern.
Lauren launched his 40-year-old company with wide ties, but he said these Purple Label ties were not intended to be a retrospective gesture.
“I just felt it was exciting for right now. The boldness of the colors and patterns makes the whole look exciting. For years the tie was put away. Guys were wearing shirts and suits with no tie. I think that’s over,” he said. “The tie is the news.”
In other news, Purple Label gets its own logo for spring. Embroidered on flat-knit cashmere sweaters and piqué polo shirts, the jockey and horse are, appropriately, at full gallop.
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)
Discovery is collaborating with British pop artist @philipcolbert on a new line of clothing and accessories called Discovery Shark. The collection, which will launch next summer for Shark Week’s 30th anniversary, features a whimsical line of women’s and men’s bomber jackets, sweatshirts, bags and more. #wwdfashion
“I’m always a big champion of a female rapper, and I’m glad to see a new voice that feels unique and authentic that’s coming up, and I think we’re going to see more great things from her,” said @itsjeremyscott about @iamcardib, who performed at @moschino’s Art Basel Miami Beach party last night. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@janellemonae’s “What’s Your Frequency?” room in @refinery29's #29Rooms made its debut this week at the opening of the Los Angeles art exhibit. “It’s about the ongoing conversation around mass surveillance, the weaponization of technology and cultural uniformity. My space was created so that we can come together and talk about the complexities of our humanity,” said Monáe. #wwdeye (📷: @bucknerphoto)
@pantone announced their Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet. Nearly 20 months after the musician Prince’s death, fashion is having a purple moment. Varying shades of purple appeared on spring or fall runways, from @christopherkane to @calvinklein. @gucci’s Alessandro Michele bathed his fall runway in ultra violet-colored light at one point. Pantone 18-3838 is meant to “push the boundaries of what inspires us to look upward and outward to the future.” #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)