• Is there anything more authentic than a Ralph Lauren Label named after a sport?
Don't answer that.
Paris retail maverick Colette seems to think not, so to celebrate the Rugby World Cup in France this September, she will feature an exclusive mini-boutique from Rugby, Lauren's most recent retail concept, to celebrate the sporting event.
The Shophound has never been to Colette ourselves, but we are increasingly bewildered by the industry's fascination with this shop. We have been to Rugby (the store) and it struck us as a bald attempt to compete with Abercrombie & Fitch in typical Lauren fashion by producing his usual preppy basics at a lower price point with only slight variation from his main lines. This, of course, would be to compete with a retail juggernaut which has achieved success by hijacking many of Ralph's own merchandising concepts, including his main photographer, Bruce Weber. A special group of rugby shirts will be produced only for Colette and the Rugby store on University place here. We wonder what Ralph's next sport-named label will be. Curling, perhaps?
• Scoop's Stefani Greenfield is also looking abroad for expansion. With branches of Scoop as far away as Miami and Dallas, Greenfield is about to open her first overseas venture on the Greek island of Mykonos in conjunction with the Belvedere Hotel there. If you are going to expand internationally, it's as good a place as any to start, perhaps better. The 300 square foot beach shop will be a precursor to a 1000 square foot boutique she is planning for next year, but given her track record, we expect the Greek islanders to be running around in Brazilian flip-flops by this time next week.
• And finally, though the week got broken up here by the July 4th holiday, in Paris it was all about Haute Couture, which though routinely pronounced dead is apparently going gangbusters, propelled by the current luxury boom creating double digit increases in all the houses that are left. There's talk that some which have recently abandoned the expensive division (Balmain, Ungaro, Nina Ricci) are thinking about getting back into the game All those things that everyday folks think are too absurdly expensive to sell are checking like mad, and that includes six-figure haute couture gowns. After all, women need something to wear with their million dollar jewels while riding in their Maybachs.
This season is full of anniversaries including Lacroix's 20th and Valentino's 45th which he will celebrate by returning his show to Rome this weekend. The biggest of all, however was Christian Dior's 60th, marked by a bash at Versailles and a runway reunion extravaganza of supermodels like Naomi, Linda, Shalom, Amber and even our '90s fave Karen Mulder. As much as we would like to report on some real crackpot runway disasters, the tribute to artists through the ages looked mostly beautiful in Galliano's typically theatrical way.