Ralph Lauren Purple Label: Menswear SS18
Let’s call this a collection of compromise. Of hybrid forms. Yes, the formalwear is classic, but it’s reinvented here in a way that, to quote the press release because they put it better than us, exudes a “relaxed elegance” and is “refreshingly urbane”. Other tailoring is made more casual – the double-breasted dinner jacket is made from linen, not wool, cut in a way that softens the shoulders, one shirt jacket even has a drawstring at the waist. Evening jackets come in unexpected fabrics – tonal houndstooth and Glen plaid print. And, whilst tailoring is pared down – leisurewear is amped up, and luxurious. It’s a bit topsy-turvy.
Vintage cycling references articulate much of the leisurewear on show, coming in a distinctive palette of black, cream and red which hark back to the glory days of the Tour de France, which we think has something to do with riding bikes. It nods to a sporting influence that is part of Ralph’s heritage – continued here via some knits adorned with oversized crests, athletic taping details and a graphic of a gymnast on a pommel horse – a reinterpretation of Ralph Lauren’s iconic Stadium collection from 1992. And, as if that wan’t enough for you to digest, there’s even something of a Western flavour – mainly a rustic-looking leather vest, which wouldn’t look out of place in a dusty old saloon. Best keep those pleated cream trousers out of sight though.