NEW YORK — After staging several successful shows in Milan, Ralph Lauren has decided not to show his men’s wear collection there next month.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A Polo spokesman confirmed that Lauren won’t be showing in Milan in June, but downplayed the decision.

“We were never really on the [Milan] calendar. They held a slot in the calendar, but we’ll do something here [for the press] in New York. We had meetings, and thought what was best this time. Ralph wasn’t committed to doing it in Milan every season,” he said.

Lauren made headlines in Milan last year when he showed some of his strongest men’s wear presentations of his career. After showing his top-of-the-line Purple Label clothing and sportswear collections in Milan in January 2002, Lauren told WWD’s sister publication DNR, “I enjoyed working there greatly. It was very stimulating. My sensibilities expanded. There’s a spirit in the air there, a fashion spirit that opens you up. In Italy there’s so much fashion for men. When I go to Paris I think of women. But in Italy the men are very fashionable, and you can feel it and you can see it. They are very conscious of clothes, very aware of quality and very aware of style.”

Lauren’s debut Milan show was a message to the world that Lauren intended to be taken seriously as a men’s wear designer and a player in the European market. “I really felt like I had something to say with this collection and the show,” Lauren said last year.

Although he doesn’t plan to show in Milan next month, Lauren is busy preparing to open his first store there in fall 2004. In January, Polo signed a lease on a 16,000-square-foot space on Milan’s premier luxury retail destination, at 4 via Montenapoleone on the corner with via Baguttino. The street houses such Italian designers as Gucci, Prada, Valentino and Giorgio Armani, as well as French brands like Louis Vuitton and Celine. The Polo location is between existing Prada and Armani Collezioni stores and faces Ferragamo and La Perla. Polo expects to dedicate 13,000 square feet of the building to its men’s and women’s labels, as well as the Polo Ralph Lauren home collection.