Ralph Lauren Purple Label: Menswear AW18
There’s something of a museum display to this here Ralph Lauren Purple Label presentation. Seeing a posse of square-jawed specimens stood against the faux nature setting, I am reminded of New York’s American Museum of Natural History and their rather wonderful taxidermy displays of bison crossing grasslands, or giant walrus flopping about some Arctic tundra. OK, walrus is perhaps a little harsh, and rather far off the mark in describing these fine models, but imagine for one second that this is indeed a museum display, in a future where Homo Sapiens are of the highest antiquarian interest – how might the accompanying plaque read?
Military dress is a running influence – with the centrepiece of the collection paying homage to old Naval officer uniforms, whilst insignia, crests, brass detailing and embroidered patches run throughout, underlining the nautical spirit of the collection. Black tuxedos are reminiscent of officer dress uniforms too, but here underlaid with tartan cashmere that draws on Highland influences. And since the natural habitat of Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label man is the rural English countryside, quilted down jackets, the sort you’d expect to find cradling a shotgun, are combined with shearling coats and tweed suiting in bucolic shades of olive, brown and green. Fabrics and patterns tell a story too; houndstooth, plaid, suede, tweed and nylon speak of English tradition infused with a modern utility. Whatever the legacy of our species may be, there’ll be no denying we looking effing fab.