SUIT UP:

Ralph Lauren's Olympic Uniforms
Are Super American!
(And Super Expensive)

RL-Olympic
This week, Ralph Lauren made the U.S. Winter Olympic Team uniforms available for purchase, and boy they sure are American.
A couple of years ago, you may remember unless you were in a coma, the designer caught Holy Hell from the country at large for having the nerve to manufacture the Summer Olympic overseas just like almost everything else he makes. This time around, he took no chances, so every stitch of the official outfits are made in the U.S.A. As a result, they are also incredibly expensive. The collection tops off with a navy and red Team USA Ceremony Pea Coat ringing up at $795 with the least expensive item being a Team USA Sports Cap for $49.50.  Some of the items are already sold out on the designer's website, so act fast if you want some pricey, stars & stripes festooned winter wear.

We are not being cynical about the styling. We wouldn't expect or want them to look any other way, generally speaking, but it's a lot to take fashionwise if you aren't going to part of a team marching in an Opening or Closing Ceremony extravaganza. The centerpiece of all this is The Sweater, modeled above by a crew of current, aspiring and former Olympians. This bulky shawl collar cardigan is designed as a bright patchwork of patriotic and Olympic motifs, which in an odd numbered year might be suitable for wearing only on a particularly chilly 4th of July. It's yours for $595. Another notable item is the Team USA Ceremony Sweater, a red, white and blue Fair Isle turtleneck for $395 which is kind of like a Christmas Sweater without the Christmas. The rest of the collection is more conventional performance wear and polo shirts with a few knitted flap caps thrown in for good measure. With the Sochi Winter Olympics proceeding under a few clouds of terrorist threats and new, homophobic Russian laws that smack of Fascism, the peppy uniforms might turn out to be the happiest part of the Olympics this Winter, so lets enjoy them for what they are. Have look at a few of the styles in the gallery below.

Team USA|Ralph Lauren (Official Site)

  • RLtheSweater
  • RLtheSweater-back
  • RLpeaCoat
  • RLteamUSAfairIsle
RLteamUSAfairIsle

SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Ralph Lauren & Opening Ceremony Anchor A Huge Sample Sale Week
w/ Isaia, Thom Browne, Alice + Olivia
& More

IsaiaBlazers
Those blazers you see above come from the ISAIA sample sale which officially starts today (pronounce it 'eez-ah-ee-yah' if you want to sound like you know what you are talking about). It's one that fans of immaculately hand-tailored Italian men's clothing wait for, and for good reason. It's full of luxurious fabrics whipped up into classic, Neopolitan suits and sportcoats along with handmade dress and sport shirts in silky cottons, luxurious sweaters and sumptuous outerwear. If you look at the price list after the jump, you will see that even at a deep discount of around 70%off, everything is still pretty pricey, but if you are willing to make an investment in impeccable, elegant quality, it's not a sale to miss. If it's too rich for your blood, then don't worry, there are a ton of other sales to hit this week. A burgeoning women's contemporary powerhouse and a cult menswear favorite turned FLOTUS fave round out the week with America's biggest designer, Ralph Lauren, and New York's favorite fashion store, Opening Ceremony, anchoring the weekend. See some highlights below, and schedule accordingly.

The NANCY GONZALEZ sale is happening now through Wednesday the 11th featuring the designer's handbags and accessories in brilliantly colored crocodile and other exotic skins. It's not the place to look for a simple leather bag, and, again, the prices here reflect the luxurious materials, but a portion of the proceeds will go to the New York Cancer Center.

Celebrated jewelry designer STEPHEN DWECK will be offering deep discounts on his eclectic jewelry for two days starting today. With bold, 80's inspired jewels on the comeback trail, you can't do better than one of it's prime practitioners. Through Wednesday the 11th.

As a perennial denim favorite, DIESEL always draws a crowd to its Chelsea showroom for sample sales. The one starting today should be no different, though there will be an unusual, separate, early bird session starting at 7 AM. Through Thursday the 12th.

ALICE & OLIVIA is another crowd pleaser, so prepare for lines today at 260 Fifth Avenue regardless of any inclement weather predictions. Through Sunday the 15th.

Wednesday brings THEORY's final sample sale of the season (we think). This one's for for menswear. Find it at Chelsea Market through Sunday the 15th

The First Lady's new favorite THOM BROWNE is moving his seasonal sale from his West Chelsea showroom all the way across town to the Bowery starting on Thursday. Presumably, this will be to accommodate his expanded womenswear line, but you should still expect to see a lot of his trimly tailored menswear. Traditionally, the discounts are substantial, so, again, expect a line of natty gentlemen in flood pants. Through Friday the 13th.

Thursday also brings a sale from the young designers at the CFDA's FASHION INCUBATOR in the Garment District including Project Runway alum DANIEL VOSOVIC, high tech wonder ISAORA and the globe-trotting BURKMAN BROS to name a few. Through Saturday the 14th.

Finally, Friday brings the week's biggest events starting with RALPH LAUREN at Soiffer Haskin in Midtown with his more exclusive Collection, Purple Label and Black Label brands. offerings generally range from apparel and shoes to accessories. There probably won't be any surprises, but there is usually a ton of stuff,  and that's how his fans like it. Through Monday the 16th.

OPENING CEREMONY is reliably guaranteed to draw hordes of eager shoppers and will be setting up shop on Mercer street now that last season's location has been permanently annexed to the main store. Expect plenty of the popular private label collections along with clearance merchandise by other designers from previous seasons which can often include some bargain gems if you are lucky. Through Sunday the 15th.

Be sure to check the SALE ROLL at left for details as well as many more sales and late breaking events that we will add as soon as we hear of them.

Continue reading "SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Ralph Lauren & Opening Ceremony Anchor A Huge Sample Sale Week
w/ Isaia, Thom Browne, Alice + Olivia
& More
" »


SAMPLE SALE CIRCUIT:

No Lines At Ralph Lauren
+
Denim & Sportswear From Current-Elliott, Joie, Equipment & Nicholas K

You would think that the big Ralph Lauren Collection sale at Soiffer Haskin would have at least some people lined up outside, but no such queues occurred this morning. Perhaps it was the rainstorms, or perhaps, at this point people have learned that the sale is low on runway fashion from the designer and high on random basics that change little from season to season. Nonetheless, things were pretty subdued during the sale's first hour this morning, and there was plenty of merchandise with a simple pricing guide. 65% off retail prices for men's clothes, 70% off women's clothes and 75% off shoes and accessories meaning that savings range from OK to pretty good. The majority of offerings are from the Black Label and Black Label Denim lines with a bit of Purple Label and Collection mixed in, and a smattering of men's RRL in a corner for good measure. The sale runs through Thursday, and has been known to add extra discounts on the last day, so holding out might not be such a bad idea for Lauren fans looking for a sweeter deal.

As for the rest of the week, the sample sale season has crested somewhat, but, as it never really stops, there are still events of note coming up including a triple header Joie/Current-Elliott/Equipment sale starting tomorrow at 260 Fifth Avenue. Starting Thursday, designer Nicholas K will be holding a sale for shoppers looking for an edgier look. See our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for details and more breaking sale info.


FLAGSHIP UPDATE:

Ralph Lauren Devoting Fifth Avenue Store To Polo Label + A Restaurant

RalphLaurenFifth
An interesting twist in the Ralph Lauren Fifth Avenue flagship story has been uncovered by our friends at Racked. The 35,000 square foot store will focus exclusively on the designer's original Polo label and will include a restaurant. The information was revealed in a transcript of last week's management call:

We've... committed to open a 35,000-square foot flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City that will be a major brand statement, featuring a full assortment of Polo men's, women's and children's merchandise, as well as a restaurant. Scheduled to open in the fall of next year, we believe the flagship store will really set the stage for the broader global strategy, especially since it is located in one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

The Polo Store concept is a relatively recent addition to Lauren's extensive and growing retail network, but one that has been identified as a potentially strong vehicle for further growth. The first one was just opened in East Hampton, NY, and another is expected to bow in September at The Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. Restaurants have also been included in Lauren Flagships in Chicago and Paris, but both concepts will be appearing for the first time in New York City at the Fifth Avenue store. Of course, Ralph Lauren's original retail stores also carried awnings that read "The Polo Shop", but that was years ago, when he only made one women's label, and the Polo brand, which he started his company with in 1967 encompassed all of his product offerings for men (The Ralph Lauren women's label and the pony insignia were introduced in 1970). Now, a profusion of brands has made the designer's original label the most affordable one that he carries in his own stores (The more moderately priced Lauren and Chaps brands were developed for department store distribution and are not sold in the designer's boutiques —yet). It makes sense to highlight it in his most tourist friendly store, while keeping the more luxurious Collection, Purple Label and Black Label lines in more rarefied locations like the twin mansions on Madison Avenue at 72nd Street. Of course, the Polo label is currently used only for Men's and Boys' products. Presumably, the new Polo Store concept will include the women's Blue Label collection which was created as a counterpart to the Polo label, although Ralph Lauren's president and COO Roger Farah intimated in a recent WWD article that the company was considering expanding the Polo brand to include women as well. As for the proposed restaurant, we don't yet know if it will be another version of the rather formal RL Restaurant found in other Ralph Lauren flagships (see menu HERE), or a new, more casual concept in keeping with the store's products (probably a lot of polo shirts and khakis) and clientele. Lauren and his team have plenty of time to decide. we will all see how it shakes out in Fall 2014 when the new store is set to open.

Ralph Lauren Fifth Ave Will Be a Polo Flagship (With a Restaurant) (Racked)
Ralph Lauren to Roll Out Polo Stores Worldwide (WWD)
Previously:
Flagship Fanfare: It's Fifth Avenue for Ralph Lauren


COURSE CORRECTION:

Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply Takes Over For Rugby

RLDS-1
Yesterday saw the completion of Ralph Lauren's real estate remedy as his more popularly priced Denim & Supply brand took over the space that originally held the designer's defunct Rugby boutique on University place. It's as if he got rid of his fantasy version of collegiate wear and replaced it with something somewhat closer to what college kids actually wear. Whether the built-in NYU client base for the location will be shopping up a storm at Denim & Supply remains to be seen, but promoting the more casual, jeans-based brand seems to be a better strategy for the designer to court a younger customer.

RLDS-3This will be the first Denim & Supply shop in New York and the second in the U.S. after the recent Boston Rugby-store-conversion, with more to come as other locations of the folded chain get retrofitted for a new brand. Lauren's smartest move was to strip the former store's interior of its cluttery, whitewashed fixtures to open it up. The gutted aesthetic naurally works better for the new line, but of course the folks at Ralph Lauren turned around and fitted the newly stripped interior with more, different clutter. They are, after all, junkies for clutter at Ralph Lauren, but the new aesthetic at Denim & Supply is more surplus store-inspired, and not entirely unlike the way his RRL shops looked when that sub-brand debuted about 20 years ago before eventually morphing into a vintage-based collection (following the evolutions of Lauren's myriad brands can be exhausting).

RLDS-4Denim & Supply may well succeed as the Abercombie & Fitch/American Eagle killer that Rugby failed to become. The store is brimming with denim in every possible stage of distress from lightly faded to fully shredded with Indian fabric patches to multicolored paint-stained to brightly hued garment dyed versions. Then there are the cargo shorts in every possible camouflage or animal pattern, to be topped with chambray or maybe a polynesian print western shirt. Add some randomly placed American flags and plenty of bandannas and voilà! You have the Ralph Lauren formula for casual wear with a rock/hippie/boho edge. Expect to aee it replicated widely soon, possibly at a mall near you as the company is pushing hard for more freestanding shops for its own labels. With Abercrombie experiencing yet another wave of unfavorable PR on several fronts, The time might be right for the original Americana designer to step in and bring them down a peg or two.

Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply 99 University Place at 12th Street, Greenwich Village
RLDS-2


FLAGSHIP FANFARE:

It's Fifth Avenue for Ralph Lauren

RalphLaurenFifth
It's not likely to supplant his lavish twin mansions on Madison Avenue and 72 Street, but a spokesperson for Ralph Lauren has confirmed to WWD that the designer has leased 35,000 square feet for a boutique in the Coca Cola Building at 711 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street. Though the deal has been rumored for months, the designer has apparently been negotiating for the former Disney Store space since 2010.

This adds Lauren to the list of designers (as one of the few Americans) with double boutique exposure on both Fifth and Madison Avenues, and this shop puts him on the same block as Armani 5th Avenue and Dolce & Gabbana's just opened brand palace. Though further details about the store are few, it is expected the the store sill carry a mix of the designer's higher end labels including Collection, Purple, Black and possibly Blue Labels. No word yet on opening dates, but the designer continues to be a busy shopkeeper in Manhattan with his first freestanding Denim & Supply boutique set to open soon replacing the defunct Rugby store on University Place.

Ralph Lauren to Open on Fifth Avenue (WWD)


STORE SHUFFLE:

Club Monaco Puts A Beach Shop In Bleecker Street's Rugby Store

RackedClubMonacoBleecker
When Ralph Lauren shut down his Rugby chain, we had to wonder what would happen to the valuable real estate it left empty. Last month we discovered that the University Place flagship would be converted to the designer's popular Denim & Supply brand, and today, our friends at Racked tell us that Club Monaco has been installed in the remaining Bleecker Street location (originally a RRL store), at least for the Summer.

Club Monaco, you may recall, is in fact owned by Ralph Lauren, so even though the designer's name is no longer on the shop, it still remains in the family. Along with a selection of beachy white basics from the chain's own assortments, the store offers denim for 7 For All Mankind, Swimwear from Vix and Toschi and, of course, Havaianas flip flops. The space has been stripped of its signature Lauren clutter in favor of clean, white paneling and pipe racks and a big pile of sand fills the window just in case you didn't immediately get the beach theme. Reportedly, the shop will remain through June, after which the folks at Ralph Lauren Retail will have to figure out exactly what they want to put in there permanently. Given their family options, they could do worse than a revolving series of seasonal Club Monaco pop-up shops.

Club Monaco Opens a Beachy Sundress Shop in the West Village (Racked)


RETAIL GO ROUND:

Ralph Lauren Replaces Rugby
With Denim & Supply

RACKED_denim-supply
Our friends at RACKED scooped us today with the news of what will become of at least one of Ralph Lauren's now shuttered Rugby locations. A new photo reveals plywood covering indicating that the University Place store will become a freestanding Denim & Supply boutique. Up until now, the label has been sold exclusively through Macy's and Ralph Lauren's website, but this, as far as we can tell, will be the first freestanding store for this particular division of the Ralph Lauren Empire.

It's not a total surprise that the designer would replace his defunct younger skewing brand with a newer, younger skewing brand. In fact, we have a theory that the more mainstream and widely distributed Denim & Supply brand cannibalized the potential success of the slightly more rarefied Rugby chain. In any event, Lauren has never been one to let a good real estate opportunity go unused. In fact, several of his downtown stores have been converted from one Lauren label to another. We do not yet know if the remaining Bleecker Street Rugby store (which was originally a RRL shop) will be similarly converted or if it will become the home of yet another of the designer's brands. Stay tuned for more developments.

Ralph Lauren's Old Rugby Store Will Be a Denim & Supply (RACKED)


GOING, GOING GONE:

Rugby's Final Countdown

RugbyClosing
There are only days left for Ralph Lauren's RUGBY location on Bleecker Street. The Shophound overheard staffers tell weekend customers that the tiny shop would shutter by Wednesday, and any remaining merchandise would be transferred to the bigger University Place store set to close by the beginning of February. It's hard to imagine either store lasting too much longer, as shoppers have already nearly stripped the shelves of both stores bare thanks to the storewide 40% off promotion designed to clear out the defunct label's goods.

It's been a tough 12 months for America's most popular (and biggest) designer as Lauren has folded not only the Rugby brand, but also the heavily advertised American Living label developed for JC Penney (before it morphed into the updated jcp). Perhaps it was that massive loss of business that forced the demise of the still-finding-its-footing Rugby, or perhaps the younger skewing label was cannibalized by Lauren's own, more mainstream Denim & Supply brand that appeared in force at Macy's earlier last year. Art any rate, even mighty Ralph Lauren appears to have some limits, but don't count on the Rugby brand completely disappearing forever. History shows that Lauren's organization has never met a trademark it couldn't find continued use for. It took nearly 15 years for the Double RL label to find its groove, going from a more popular priced vintage inspired line to a premium denim brand before finally flourishing as a nostalgic "Boardwalk Empire" era-inspired workwear line. Even the decades old Chaps diffusion label found a new life as a Kohl's exclusive brand, so don't be surprised if Rugby miraculously finds a new life somewhere else once the dust settles and it has had a little rest. In the meantime, get 40% off anything left at Rugby, including already marked down items, which gives you a pretty good deal on souvenirs from a soon to be extinct label.

RUGBY (Official Site)


CANCELED AT HALFTIME:

Ralph Lauren's Rugby Chain To Shutter

RugbyClosing
Buried in a report on the Ralph Lauren Corp's second quarter earnings comes the news that the designer's budding collegiate sportswear chain Rugby would be folded early next year "in order to focus resources on higher growth, more scalable global opportunities with the core Ralph Lauren brand," according to WWD.com. Sometimes it seems that America's biggest designer is unstoppable, targeting every possible demographic category with an abundance of product, but recent months have shown us that there is a limit to just how much Ralph Lauren product the world at large is willing to consume. This news follow the discontinuing earlier this year of the designer's American Living brand at J.C. Penney stores.

It turns out that the younger, college and post-college aged customers that Rugby courted were not as interested in the trimmed down preppy classics that were offered, or perhaps the stores were simply seen as duplicating merchandise that was already widely available under the vast assortments of the Polo label among the many other Ralph Lauren brands. For whatever reason, Rugby never quite took off. 14 remaining Rugby stores and the related e-commerce website will be closed during the company's fiscal 2013, which we interpret as over the next several months by February 2nd, 2013, so any fans out there will still have a bit of time to stock up on fitted, pony-free oxford shirts while they last.

Ralph Lauren Posts Better Than Expected Q2 Results (WWD.com)