Ralph Lauren Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear
What brought Ralph Lauren back to Milan for his first on-model European presentation since 2003? Rather unromantically, an expansion of brand architecture. Back on Madison Avenue, Polo is being nurtured through a growth spurt that’s seen its first NYFW womenswear presentations (menswear will follow soon) and first stand-alone New York retail site (London will come next, on Regent Street). So with Polo upping sticks, there’s suddenly room at the apex of Ralph Lauren’s offer.
Thus this collection saw Purple Label’s formerly tailoring and trad-casual focus pan back some for the sake of a wider angle. The look that encapsulated this was the black denim tuxedo. A sports-casual story offered Aran knits, crocodile blousons, summery foulards, and wide, cuffed linen pants worn alongside an orange-shouldered, laser-cut, bonded-seam leather sailing jacket. Street-ninja sportswear combined nylon with stripes of yellow leather; espadrilles came printed with an abstracted RL monogram; and an overt RL logo was applied to Purple for the first time on belt buckles. An interesting color section used lilac as a base beneath an overlay of cream brushed-silk tailoring, while a double-breasted shawl-collar white evening jacket was, in its way, rather radical. Accessories included perforated leather RL totes along with the chunky stolidity of the Cooper bag. Whether the day demands executive decisions or extreme expeditions, only bankruptcy now prevents the Purple Label man from ever needing to accoutre himself anywhere else.