Farewell Ralph Lauren Rugby. You confused me a little, with your slightly cheaper takedowns of Polo pieces that seemed to be simultaneously on sale at the Polo store, but your skull-embroidered shorts were the truth. Just as one division winds down, RL Vintage gets a push. This wing of the Ralph empire brings back some old pieces in vintage form including the Flag SSweater that Lauren had specially made for his LIFE cover in 1989 as well as a wild hand painted lambskin jacket (price on enquiry). What’s in the store at the moment is old west-themed (a familiar reference point) but where it goes thematically is anyone’s guess. There’s also the promise of some fan voted reproductions of classic Polo too, with the return of the Polo Bear sweater looming and the opportunity to pick from a quartet of well-dressed beasts. The street-level fandom of that particular piece almost certainly fueled that decision to retro it, but the collector profiles (showcasing some interesting gear) and the shots of New Yorker Divine Bradley — who starred in a 2003 Polo Jeans print campaign — and his “suicide” ski jacket, P-wing gear and Snow Beach jacket might be the closest I’ve seen to an acknowledgment of those pieces and the urban audience who popularized them. Are we going to see Snow Beach sold as a vintage piece through an official Ralph Lauren site? Will we see a retro of those coveted designs? Incidentally, I root for the bottom right bear that’s currently losing the vote and is doomed to stay dusty and never return from vintage limbo. Did somebody at the company clock the blog love for unturned stones in the Lauren archive? They’ve even started an official Tumblr that seems to be a response to the volume of Polo fetishism being pumped out via that mode of blogging. It’s interesting to see where this project goes.
That wasn’t enough to justify a Sunday blog update — I’m embroiled in Nike and Complex matters. As an apology for that, here’s a couple of strange celebrity sportswear endorsements from 1987. New Edition could have done a lot better than mess with the always-terrible LA Gear (those ‘Can You Stand the Rain’ outfits have aged better than any LA Gear effort), but that Le Coq Sportif Kool & the Gang co-sign was too unexpected to criticise. Who brokered that one?