Friday, October 14, 2011

Mr. Big

It's been a good year for Mr. Big. Married off his 2 youngest kids, the company stock is doing well, the car collection was on display in Paris, the new lines are performing better than expected, all in all not bad for a kid from the Bronx.

It's easy to have sport at Ralph expense, but certainly not on his birthday. His ubiquitous, now cliché, over priced Big Pony polos, the BIG BOOK, the car collection, the lifestyle are all fodder for amusement. Much of his design sensibility may be stuck in the 1930''s, but as a society we owe Ralph a great deal.

To my view of the world, without his impermature, a lot of clothes we take for granted would have died unmourned long ago. Who else kept tweed alive? The citizens of Lewis and Harris Island celebrate Ralph's life, and are eternally grateful for his annual fall looks. It keeps them alive. Fair Isle sweaters? Norfolk Jackets? No one else, but Ralph.

Imagine the newspaper and magazine publishers in fashion or design that would commit ritual suicide before losing RL's advertising. Single handedly Ralph Lauren Corporation must keep much of the lifestyle publishing world employed in these difficult times.

Ralph represents a taste, style and level of quality that few purveyors imagine, much less strive for. He's one of a kind.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lauren. I wish you many more.



Chuck Hatt said...

Toad, I agree. He's preserved a lot and has a remarkable knack for presenting an aesthetic sensibility that is more than the sum of it's parts. I'm not particularly well-educated about these matters but I think he's one of the pioneers of what we now know as life-style marketing.

He's also really adept at presenting the best of the American Cowboy and Western thing that seems to come around about once every decade. Come to think of it, aren't we about due for another round of western wear and NA blankets? Maybe this time it will feature bowlers.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe this time it will feature bowlers."

My thoughts exactly, CH !!!


Patsy said...

The car collection is outstanding.

A friend of ours worked on the restoration of his Bugatti Atlantic - amazing!

Toad said...

Patsy the car collection is the only thing that really grates my teeth. They are too American in their finish. Cars better than they left the factory have no appeal to me at all, although I respect the craftmanship that goes into the recreation, I would have rather he left them alone.

That may be why he has billions and I do not.

NCJack said...

Very mixed feelings about RL. We used to buy factory seconds/overrruns at the mill that made them in SC, for less than 10% retail. Full price buyers were adamant that they just couldn't be real, but yes they were. So I figured RL was just a joke played on yuppies.

But I agree with you that he kept the lamp lit for traditional and simple clothing through the darkness of disco and Eurotrash stylings.

Patsy said...

Interesting point! Not being a car buff in terms of power, but more in terms of design, I view them as sculptures in steel.

And the work that goes into the restoration is pure genius.