LONDON — Readers salivating for an all-American fashion scandal will have to skip over Colin McDowell’s latest book, "Ralph Lauren: The Man, the Vision, the Style" (Cassell Illustrated), which is a paean to the designer’s career, way...
LONDON — Readers salivating for an all-American fashion scandal will have to skip over Colin McDowell’s latest book, "Ralph Lauren: The Man, the Vision, the Style" (Cassell Illustrated), which is a paean to the designer’s career, way of life and character.
Ralph fans are sure to swoon over the book, which will be published in the U.S. by Rizzoli next March, and there is no doubt the cover shot of a smiling Lauren in front of Old Glory will complement coffee tables from Southampton to Santa Fe.
The book is fourth in a series McDowell is penning on designers he admires. The others focused on John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier and Manolo Blahnik. He’s due to start work on the fifth — the subject of which is still a mystery — next spring. McDowell’s books are far from tell-alls, however; the closest he gets to criticizing Lauren, for example, is to say the designer’s drawings aren’t exactly beautiful.
"I’m not interested in gossip, or in clipping anyone’s wings. And I’m not into scandal, it’s not part of my brief," said McDowell in a telephone interview. "I do not set out to be negative — or uncritical. I love fashion, and in this case I wanted to write about the creative force of Ralph Lauren. I leave it to others to write the sniping books."
Speaking of which, Michael Gross’ unauthorized book about Lauren, "Authentic Genuine," is due out in the U.S. in January and reportedly is packed with gossip.
McDowell spent two-and-a-half years researching and writing the book, with Lauren’s cooperation — but not his seal of approval, the author pointed out. "The final book is mine, although Ralph helped out with the choice of pictures."
The book charts the rise of Lauren — whose brothers changed their name, from Lifshitz — from a style-obsessed Bronx kid with a passion for baseball and Frank Sinatra to a global fashion mogul.
The book talks about the time the teenage Lauren partly shaved his head to give the effect of a receding hairline — like Cary Grant’s — and how he recycled and styled everything from his brother’s army clothes from South Korea to his father’s old-fashioned pinstriped shirts."You could try to copy his look, but you wouldn’t look the way he did," one friend is quoted as saying. "He was never the group’s shrinking violet." McDowell also points out that when all the other seniors wrote their dream professions under their yearbook photos, Lauren simply penned "millionaire."
McDowell goes on to talk about the designer’s first foray into fashion in the mid-Sixties, selling those first wide ties — up to four inches across — at a time when the usual neckwear was half that width. He talks about Lauren’s loathing of the trends, his love affair with posh English style and his ability to "giftwrap taste and sell it to the Americans."
But there is also Lauren the business brain, pioneering in-store shops and lifestyle advertising, taking his company public in June 1997, and setting out to crack markets outside the U.S.
"He became a worldwide cultural force, changing the way we dress, the way we shop, how we see the home," said McDowell in the interview.
"I’m not saying he’s the only one, but he is an original thinker. When the cultural history of the U.S. is written, will anyone really remember the Carter years? I don’t know, but you can bet they will remember Ralph Lauren as a cultural force. He sold America to the Americans, and that is no mean achievement."
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)