Just a couple of hours after opening the new Ralph Lauren Baby store at 872 Madison on Monday, uptowners were rifling through perfectly appointed racks and stacks of luxe baby gear. Shoppers were stocking up on miniature versions of Ralph Lauren’s iconic looks, from cashmere cableknit sweaters, pinwale corduroys, oxford shirtdresses and seersucker suits.
The 900-square-foot space was designed to reflect the reigning Ralph Lauren sensibility of mahogany paneling, white linen walls, sisal carpeting and a coffered ceiling inspired by the one at the Rhinelander Mansion just across the street.
"It has an old-world charm to it with jelly bean-themed windows and four-foot-high cashmere bunnies. It’s not a massive presentation, but that gives it some of its charm and character," said Wayne Meichner, president of Polo Retail Corp.
The space is decorated with framed antique children’s sketches, a Victorian bassinet and a tiny seersucker valet chair. Other touches that add to the store’s quaint effect include a custom-made rocking horse, crocheted booties, little western jackets and vintage christening gowns.
The firm was driven to open a separate children’s store (which is a few doors down from another Ralph Lauren store) because it outgrew the children’s space in the mansion, said Meichner.
Along with the infant, toddler and layette categories, the store carries vintage pieces, accessories and giftware. The company declined to project first-year store sales. According to Meichner, there are no current plans to open other stand-alone baby stores, but he wants to create more space for children’s apparel in other Ralph Lauren stores.
Retail prices for the clothes, which Meichner characterizes as "a microcosm of our men’s and women’s world done for toddlers," start at $25 for polo shirts; $95 each for Double RL five-pocket jeans and denim jackets; $150 for cableknit cashmere sweaters; $240 for navy blazers, and $200 for Swiss dot dresses.
Meichner also points to a dearth in the market of formal toddler clothing as an important component of their strategy.
"It has become difficult to find dressy, tailored apparel for boys and great dresses for girls," he said. "Many of the majors have gone out of that business, so we think there is an opportunity as well to service that customer, in terms of their needs, whether it be for holiday or something else."
“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