NEW YORK — Now even those fashion diehards living in the hinterland will be able to while away their days preordering the Ralph Lauren Collection from their IBooks.

This story first appeared in the April 14, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Starting today and through April 30, the luxury fashion company will feature a virtual trunk show for the fall 2003 Ralph Lauren Collection on one of its Web sites, Runway.Polo.com. The aim is to drive both its online and retail sales, boost customer interest in the collection and foster communication between sales associates and shoppers.

Given the breadth of the Polo Ralph Lauren Web sites, there are four, and the fact that Polo.com alone draws over 8 million unique visitors a year — it was a natural step to try to increase the consumer audience for Collection.

“We thought, why not do an online trunk show that makes it easier for consumers to get the product?” said David Lauren, senior vice president of advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Polo Ralph Lauren. “That was really the impetus for the site and to create the first trunk show.”

Shoppers can peruse 46 luxe Edwardian looks for fall, like a beaded silk camisole for $2,998, chocolate suede pants for $2,198 and a plaid cashmere Dara coat for $3,198.

Once a shopper places an online order, a sales associate will contact them within 48 hours and subsequently walk them through their order and notify them once the clothes arrive at a Ralph Lauren store of their choosing. The merchandise can be picked up only at specified Polo stores.

“The Web site is unique, and it’s very much a part of our luxury strategy,” said Lauren. “And it’s novel. It’s another way Ralph Lauren is going beyond what we’ve done in the past — a new door is opening, and we’re really pushing it.”