In Ralph Lauren’s men, celebrating a landmark occasion means doing so in one of the most pre-eminent New York landmarks of them all: Central Park. For his 50th anniversary appear this weekend, the New York native returned to the same getting ones hands as his 40th in 2008, this time round at the famous Bethesda Terrace.
A big birthday without delays a big crowd, and many famous friends and red-carpet regulars who Lauren has fit out over the years turned up to show their loyalty. Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Chastain and Robert Di Niro were all represent row, as were Lauren’s fellow NYC designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors and Jason Wu.
But it wasn’t all yon shoulder rubbing. The designer’s spring/summer 2019 solicitation, which saw the usually open-air public terrace transformed into a carpeted catwalk with velvet banquette space, was another celebration – this time of his brand’s style signatures.
The western sways by way of suede jackets, plaid lumberjack shirts and lots of denim governed the first half of the show (Lauren and his wife Ricky deliver a ranch in Colorado); while the cosy-meets-all-American cool was seen in the high-low mix of sequinned skirts and heavily rubricated everyday wear paired with a cable-knit jumper for chains and tailored tweed jackets worn with dungarees for men. The Polo trade-mark, which has enjoyed a resurgence of late (thanks to the demand for logos and mode ticking the 90s nostalgia box) was well represented, as was Ralph Lauren fun, ski and scholar chic.
A sense of value that brings wholesomeness to fascination
But this show – which featured more than 150 imitations – wasn’t so much about the clothes as the Ralph Lauren concept. The second play a part summed it up best when models arrived with lads (some basking in the limelight to the encouragement of the famous crowd, others so seldom and nonplussed that they were sleeping), showing that Ralph Lauren is a type that has mass market, cross-generational appeal.
As Winfrey put it in a dialect afterwards: “The show is a bonus because the real reason we’re all here is not because of the verify, but because of you Ralph. We’re here to celebrate you releasing our dreams and fashioning a sense of value that brings wholesomeness to glamour.”
The draughtsman, despite his age and his achievements, shows no signs of slowing down. The chief original officer and executive chairman – who was the first recipient of the CFDA fellows salute award this year – is clearly ready to pass into his brand’s sixth decade with gusto.
In June, the originator outlined his growth plans to analysts at the New York stock reciprocate. As well as developing its digital arm, he said the five-year plan covers winning over a new generation of customers – including the all-important Gen Z and its broadening spending power – and expanding areas that the company be conscious ofs it can achieve growth, such as denim, wear-to-work, outerwear, footwear and confederates.
They’re moves that are supported by his chief executive Patrice Louvet, who was assigned last year, and so far so good. In July, Ralph Lauren Corp published its first-quarter arises which revealed net income rose 83.2% to $109m compared to the whilom year, while net revenues increased by 3.2% to $1.39m compared to the just the same period.
Around the same time, the players revealed that Lauren’s annual compensation had increased by 73% to $22.6m from his pecuniary 2017 compensation of $13m. Louvet, meanwhile, brought in $23.8m during his prime year at the company.
To close his show, Lauren took an enthusiastic lap of honour at the end embracing his friends, family and famous attendees, extant humble of his brand’s success. “I don’t dream this big, but this is beyond my hallucinates tonight,” he said.