You may never walk a mile in Ralph Lauren’s shoes. You may have to walk a mile to Ralph Lauren’s shoes. A fashion spectator, invited into Lauren’s sweeping Madison Avenue showrooms, has a long journey ahead of him. The trip through the worlds of Purple Label, Black Label, Polo, and RLX—plus the Jeans iterations of at least a few of the preceding lines—seems to encompass at least one city block. Bring your hiking boots. Or borrow a pair of those on display.
First, Purple Label, the toniest jewel in the RL crown—the chairman of its board, if you will. The highest rollers won’t be disappointed by the three-piece tailoring and tailcoated evening options, though they may be surprised to find them newly snug, thanks to a slimmed silhouette. The sportswear offerings have been much expanded, from floral pants to hazard orange, bonded slickers, for the CEO who peacocks when he’s off the clock. Or perhaps just in acknowledgment of the fact that today’s CEO isn’t necessarily hoary. This is the age of the Instagram millionaire.
At Black Label, the story is brown. It’s the label’s new neutral, and it looks great against the country club pastels like lilac and sea foam that are RL standards. The Black Label denim gets in on the story, too, in weather-beaten sand tones.
ARTHUR SALES (SOUL ARTIST)
Polo is more relaxed, the college boy of the bunch, with natural shoulders and softer materials to match. The RL team has begun to mix it in with the technical-sport RLX collection, a move that’s brought a bit of freshness to both. The vibe is Outdoorsman in the Off Hours—which translates pretty directly to Men’s Fashion Editor in the On Hours. Leave on those hiking boots, in other words, but put on your blazer, too.