Ralph Lauren

5 Things To Know About Ralph Lauren’s Black And White AW 2022 Show

5 Things To Know About Ralph Lauren’s Black And White AW 2022 Show

Fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen shares five key takeaways from Ralph Lauren’s autumn/winter 2022 presentation, which took place off-schedule in New York at the Museum of Modern Art.
The show was set in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City

As fashion made its definitive return to the runways this season after the pandemic, Ralph Lauren chose to wait just a few weeks more before staging his own homecoming in New York City. His show took place in the sleek surroundings of the The Museum of Modern Art, with the city’s skyline as its backdrop. And it wasn’t without hesitation. When he planned it, he said, “There was no war in Ukraine. The tragedy and devastation we are witnessing now was unthinkable. Back then all I could think about was coming back together with my teams and all of you to share the hopefulness that collaboration and creativity can inspire. In the midst of this sadness, we go forward united in our hope for peace, and our hope for the end of this pandemic and a return to being together.”
Joe Biden’s family was in attendance

Models including Shalom Harlow and Gigi and Bella Hadid glided down a staircase onto a mirrored floor and meandered their way through Lauren’s modernist American lounge, where guests kicked back in leather seats around coffee tables. Reflecting this designer’s universal appeal, show-goers represented every genre of show business and beyond: Jessica Chastain, Lily Collins, Janelle Monáe, Angus Cloud, Henry Golding, and – on an invitation symbolic of Lauren’s convictions – President Biden’s granddaughters Naomi Biden and Finnegan Biden. “I am so proud to be with you again sharing not only a collection, but an optimism for living that respects the dignity of all,” the designer said.
The collection was largely monochrome

Lauren showed a collection to match his modernist setting: predominantly black and white, it made a case for the classic and timeless allure of monochrome dressing, occasionally interrupted by punches of red. For the bold impact of his handsome women’s suits styled chicly over white shirts and black polo necks, his slinky black jumpsuits cut into graphic lines, hand-spun sweaters in pared-back Nordic patterns, and long, languid women’s coats in the fabrics of the heritage men’s wardrobe, the muted color palette and ageless spirit of the collection had a familiar and almost soothing effect in a time when that is much-needed. Lauren echoed that impression: “It’s a celebration of the timeless style of black and white emboldened in the sleek lines of tailored silhouettes,” he said.
Lauren added hints of sportswear to his formal lines

While Lauren kept things on the formal side, drawing on the reassuring language of a classic wardrobe, he couldn’t resist a few moments of sporty indulgence. Over her tuxedo, Vittoria Ceretti wore a hyper-elevated black wool varsity jacket with leather sleeves and the New York Yankees logo embroidered across the back. Gigi Hadid tucked a sporty black sweater with a graphic RL logo into a neat black trouser, and Lauren himself took his bow in a similarly styled look worn with black and white trainers. The collection often felt like a statement about the order and solace the traditional formal wardrobe can contribute within times of turbulence, but this is, after all, the designer who normalized the infiltration of sportswear into our everyday wardrobes.
He introduced new accessories and jazzed up his classics

Embellishing his black and white proposals, Lauren debuted a string of new accessories that walked the tightrope between daytime glamour and evening pizzazz. A new Doctor bag in alligator with gold hardware easily nailed the former category, backed up by Deco Frame bags in velvet or calfskin with delicate embroideries. The classic Ricky – named after the designer’s wife – was reinterpreted as a clutch and adorned with gold monogram stitching. Lauren complemented his monochrome palette with two-tone spectator shoes harking back to the golden age of New York, finished off his evening silhouettes with velvet pumps and sandals, and shook up his black and white ball with the occasional glossy riding boot trimmed with scarlet leather.
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk

The Major Fashion Brands Participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics

The Major Fashion Brands Participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are just a few days away and many major fashion brands are celebrating the Winter Games by creating high-tech uniforms for the athletes or creating capsule collections for fans.Ralph Lauren is back to design the official Team USA uniform, sticking with the traditional red, white and blue colorway in a collection of winter wear that’s also designed with temperature-responsive fabric that expands and contracts on the wearer in response to temperature changes.
Kim Kardashian West’s Skims brand is also continuing its partnership with Team USA as the official sponsor of the team’s loungewear, sleepwear and innerwear. Kardashian West embarked on the partnership for the Summer Tokyo Olympics.

Other nations are also getting their uniforms designed by major brands. In a big shift from the country’s denim uniforms for the Summer Games designed by Hudson’s Bay, Team Canada has joined with Lululemon on a multiyear Olympics partnership starting with the Winter Games. This Olympics, the athleticwear brand took inspiration from the red maple leaf on the country’s flag, creating activewear pieces in a rich red hue for the athletes.

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Here, WWD looks at the major fashion brands that are participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Read on for more.
Columbia Sportswear

Columbia’s Team USA curling team uniform.
Courtesy of Columbia

Columbia Sportswear is creating the official uniforms for the Team USA curling team. The brand is creating jackets, jerseys, pants and accessories designed in a four-way stretch fabric to optimize mobility. The pieces are also made with abrasion-resistant materials and Columbia’s Omni-Wick technology for accelerated moisture evaporation.
Kith

A style from Kith’s Olympics collection.
Courtesy of Kith

Kith has created another Olympic-themed collection to celebrate the winter games. The 27-piece collection features reimagined versions of Kith staples and includes a new logo designed by Kith for the partnership.
The pieces include a midi puffer jacket and quilted track jacket in white with a custom snow mountain graphic. Other pieces include hoodies, cardigans, reversible bucket hats, socks, water bottles and snowboards.
Lululemon

Lululemon’s Team Canada uniforms.
Getty Images for lululemon

Lululemon has signed a multiyear partnership with Team Canada to design the country’s Olympic uniforms. For the Winter Olympics, the team’s uniforms take inspiration from the red maple leaf in Canada’s flag, with pieces like puffer jackets, sweaters and leggings made in a rich red hue. The maple leaf is also embossed on some pieces, like the Team Canada bag.
Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren’s Team USA uniform.

Ralph Lauren is back to design the official Team USA uniforms, creating the garments with a signature temperature technology. The team’s Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform includes an anorak, midlayer jacket, pants, gloves and boots in a red, white and blue colorway. The uniform is designed with Ralph Lauren’s signature pony logo, as well as that of Team USA.
The brand incorporated an Intelligent Insulation technology into the garments, which is a temperature-responsive fabric made with two materials that expand and contract in response to temperature changes.
Customers can also buy the uniform through Lauren’s website and at select retail stores.
Skims

Chloe Kim for Skims’ Olympics collection.
Courtesy of Skims

Kim Kardashian West’s Skims has signed on again to be the official Team USA sponsor for loungewear, sleepwear and innerwear. Kardashian West started the partnership for the Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The brand released the ad campaign for the partnership on Jan. 13, with Olympians like snowboarder Chloe Kim, Paralympic cross-country skier and rower Oksana Master, bobsled champion Aja Evans, figure skater Madison Chock, professional short track and speed skater Maame Biney and figure skater Amber Glenn modeling the pieces.
The collection of tank tops, boxers, leggings, T-shirts, sports bras, underwear and sweatpants is available on the Skims website.
Spyder

A look from the Spyder x Eric Haze Olympics collection.
Courtesy of Spyder

Apparel label Spyder has teamed with artist Eric Haze to design the uniforms for Team USA’s ski teams. Haze’s collection includes outerwear, base layers and accessories that are sustainable and include the artist’s star logo and hand-painted pattern work. Spyder and Haze created the collection based on direct feedback from athletes to create uniforms that were comfortable and efficient.
A similar collection is being offered on Spyder’s website for purchase, ranging in price from $25 to $149.
Volcom

Volcom is the official outfitter for Team USA’s snowboarding team, with the uniforms sporting a red, white and blue striped faux rabbit’s foot for good luck. The brand is creating three uniforms for the team, which include the Owl 3 Layer Gore-Tex jacket and relaxed fit L Gore-Tex pants and a “Brighton” freestyle-inspired jacket and “Hotlapper” sweatpants. The brand is releasing a similar apparel collection on its website for Olympics fans.
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PETA Asks Lululemon About Slaughterhouse Practices

PETA Asks Lululemon About Slaughterhouse Practices

Lululemon Athletica is in the hot seat. Animal rights activist group PETA — which owns shares of Lululemon — submitted a shareholder resolution request Wednesday to the athletic apparel and accessories retailer’s board, asking Lululemon to reveal information regarding how Lululemon sources its goose down, which is used in some Lululemon jackets. 
PETA said shareholders have a right to know if Lululemon’s practices are “incompatible” with its animal welfare policy, and if so, how the company plans to reduce its impact on the animals. 
“Lululemon is selling jackets filled with the feathers of birds who are violently killed, betraying the yoga principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, that it splashes on its shopping bags,” Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “PETA’s resolution would prove to Lululemon that it’s misleading its customers about the suffering and deaths of animals in its supply chain.”

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A spokesperson for Lululemon confirmed that the company received PETA’s shareholder proposal, asking the retailer to list down as an item in its proxy statement, as well as Lululemon’s 2022 annual meeting.
Lululemon did not say whether it would include down in the proxy statement or on the agenda of its 2022 annual meeting, but did say through the spokesperson that “we are committed to upholding strong animal welfare practices by working with our vendors to have visibility into down sources and can confirm 100 percent of our down products are certified RDS, a standard that is considered industry best practice.”
The retailer added on its website that “we require that animals in our supply chain are treated humanely and with respect. We don’t use down that comes from birds that have been live plucked or force fed. We work to ensure the traceability of our entire supply chain by following an industry best practice called the Responsible Down Standard. The goal of the RDS is to protect and improve the welfare of the ducks and geese that provide down and feathers. Following the RDS ensures that our down comes from geese that have been treated humanely.” 
In Lululemon’s 2020 Impact Agenda, which outlined the retailer’s multiyear social and environmental efforts, the company went one step further, saying that, “a full 100 percent of our animal-derived materials will be traceable or certified in line with our Animal-Derived Materials Policy by 2025. Since 2016, 100 percent of our down has been fully traceable and certified to meet the Responsible Down Standard. We are working toward responsibly sourced wool that is traceable and preferably certified by a third party, such as the Responsible Wool Standard. We’ll continue to increase visibility and transparency for the rest of our supply chain.”
PETA shot back, claiming that “all birds used for down end up at slaughterhouses, where they are typically hung upside down, they’re electroshocked, their throats are slit and their bodies are dumped into scalding water for de-feathering.
“More and more consumers are prioritizing corporate transparency and cruelty-free fashion,” PETA said in its resolution. “Lululemon’s consumer base expects our company to uphold values, such as mindfulness and honesty touted on its website. Consequently, our shareholders deserve full disclosure on the slaughter methods used to obtain down in order to assess whether or not these methods align with our company’s humane claims and values.”

Lululemon uses goose down as insulation in some of its outerwear pieces, a partnership with down supplier Downlite, because it has a “higher warmth-to-weight ratio than other materials used for insulation,” according to Lululemon’s website. “This means more warmth with less bulk, making it an excellent high-performance material for layering and sweaty pursuits.”
Downlite also partners with Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, Canada Goose, Vuori, Banana Republic and The North Face, among others, according to the company’s website. 

Copenhagen Fashion Summit Draws Hermès, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren

Copenhagen Fashion Summit Draws Hermès, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren

Global Fashion Agenda’s CFS+ (the digital format of Copenhagen Fashion Summit) kicked off on Thursday morning, with a 10-hour-long digital program, with fashion professionals from around the world tuning in.This year’s summit, aptly titled “Prosperity vs. Growth,” aimed to give the — virtual — stage to all new names and speakers, with major brands joining for the first time, including the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Hermès and Ralph Lauren.
While corporate interests were many, some speakers were a category all their own, deemed royalty or celebrity status including the likes of actress, producer and change agent Yara Shahidi, as well as singer Miguel Pimentel (also the creative director of S1C) and Mary Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess, a patron of GFA.

Hilfiger, who was among the first speakers, had a discussion with Shahidi that centered on social justice and fashion’s ability to engage with political and cultural issues.

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The talk took the form of an exchange between two generations, with Shahidi and Hilfiger offering their individual perspectives on how fashion can lead the cultural conversation and have a positive impact on shifting social dynamics, from gender expression to race equality.
“As a brand, we consume pop culture and what’s going on around us because the more informed we are about how people are thinking, the more successful and inspired we can be,” said Hilfiger.
Shahidi spoke about the importance of more designers “paying attention to the culture and the individual and letting things blossom from there,” rather than dictating a certain look or trend to their audiences.
“We need to acknowledge the space that fashion takes in the world as a creative force but also socially, as a uniting force. It’s indicative of where we stand socially and brands have the opportunity to lead the way when it comes to socially responsibility, with their mission statements, campaigns, donations. They can absolutely work alongside political movements,” said Shahidi who starred in Hilfiger’s fall 2021 campaign, impressed by the roster of creatives the brand has tapped for its collaborations from Zendaya to Lewis Hamilton and Gigi Hadid.
“Each of them represents a different part of culture, a different tether. People are drawn to it because it’s resonant,” Shahidi said.
Collaborating with the right people and giving them space to express themselves creatively is a big part of how you can create a culturally relevant brand, according to Hilfiger, as well as make relevant cultural statements.
“Usually, brands control what is being developed into a product. But I told Zendaya [referencing the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya fall 2019 collab], ‘You can do whatever you want, whatever colors, whatever fabrics.’ She and her stylist Law Roach developed what they thought was going to be appropriate for the runway and for fashion and it was a blockbuster success,” he said, acknowledging the younger generation’s need for freedom of expression and for being in charge of the narrative.
“What I love about my generation is our emphasis on self-expression, on the agency we have, the respect we demand, how we want to be referred to. When I think about fashion there’s a real utility to it, it’s not something frivolous for us, but a real tool for expressing our identities,” added Shahidi.

Patrice Louvet, Ralph Lauren’s chief executive officer, followed on from Hilfiger, giving a brief keynote speech on how to design a thriving fashion industry that can benefit both people and planet.
“Everyone from customers to regulators is asking a version of this question,” acknowledged Louvet, adding that the goal is to set measurable goals and commitments in order to find the right answers.
He pointed to Ralph Lauren’s net-zero road map, circularity commitments and increased data transparency as part of the solution, as well as new initiatives to connect executive compensation with progress on the sustainability front.
“Ralph always said that ‘you don’t just wear clothes, you live a life and have a style,” Louvet said. “So how things make you feel is hugely important, it’s not just about how something looks — and it doesn’t feel good to buy something that you know will sit in a landfill or wasn’t made ethically.”
Fashion’s eye toward policy has tightened in recent years, as the EU, for one, looks to clamp down on textile waste and greenwashing.
As times are changing, a conversation between Jenna Johnson, head of Patagonia Inc., who previously led Patagonia’s outdoor business, and Olivier Fournier, executive vice president corporate development and social affairs at Hermès International, juxtaposed innovation and legacy.
“This ethos [doing more with less] has really been with us as we’ve transitioned to Patagonia: apparel and equipment manufacturer,” Johnson said, emphasizing the “and” as a crossroads from simply outdoor gear. To that, Fournier emphasized how passion, excellence and craft have been maintained from Hermès’ bits-and-harness days as the house rode into fashion goods.
“We can be proud of our heritage, but we can change anything we want if it creates change,” said Fournier, turning mention to innovation without supplier abandonment. True, the handbag purveyor announced its “Sylvania” mushroom leather innovation with MycoWorks this past March, which leads to questions on how key suppliers fit into this new material world. Fournier reinforced how responsible partnerships are integral even amid change: of the company’s 50 largest direct suppliers, relationships have been maintained an average of 20 years.

Those on the supplier side of things who have been overlooked, however, are the workers. Executives like Ayesha Barenblat, founder of human rights nonprofit Remake, and Khalid Mahmood, director of Labor Education Foundation in Pakistan, shed light on workers’ rights in a later conversation (perhaps to buffer past criticism surrounding CFS+ not giving equal play to grassroots organizers).
If anything, the CFS+ program was one continuous call to action.
In a cut between programming, Virginijus Sinkevičius, European commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries at the European Commission, thanked attendees for continuing to put sustainability “at the heart of your sector.” The Designer Challenge (a recurring aspect of CFS+ with Heron Preston participating last year), on the other hand, spoke to the reality that sectors are still failing to meet infrastructural and funding needs.
“We’re not a super strong voice, we’re designers, we’re a small cog in the machine,” said Sunshine Bertrand, creative director of eyewear company Sunshine Bertrand Ltd. The eyewear designer teamed up with singer Miguel for the ultimate sustainable sunglass design, but the group showed up empty-handed, citing funding constraints. “Certainly it’s about a lack of dialogue that’s going on, lack of transparency and lack of urgency. The eyewear industry is dominated by very large organizations, and they’re not so quick to work [on sustainability].”
Bertrand’s points on small designer struggles came to complement those of Victoria Allen, concept designer at H&M ladies denim, who spoke to the big brand perspective in a separate conversation.
Her thoughts, in a way, bookended how the greater mass movement in sustainability tips the edge back to the basics. “I don’t think sustainability is the competitive edge, I think design is the competitive edge.”

From Skims to Les Benjamins — All the Tokyo Olympics Outfits to Look Out for

From Skims to Les Benjamins — All the Tokyo Olympics Outfits to Look Out for

Photo: Instagram/@skims
Kim Kardashian‘s Skims has been announced as the first-ever official loungewear outfitter for the national American team competing in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Shared on June 28, her shapewear brand will provide underwear, loungewear, and pajamas for female American athletes in the team. Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren, which has designed the opening and closing ceremony looks for Team USA since 2008, has designed this year’s outerwear too.

In anticipation of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to start on July 23, many national teams from around the world have also been proudly sharing their uniforms on social media, patriotically adorned with colors of their countries’ flags or familiar motifs, featuring designs by popular fashion brands.
Team Australia, for instance, is set to walk into Tokyo’s Japan National Stadium at the opening ceremony with their recently debuted green and gold Olympic uniforms by Asics. The shirts under the jackets, designed by Olympic super featherweight boxer and indigenous artist Paul Fleming, incorporate symmetrical designs of Japanese origami with 52 pairs of footsteps emerging from the centre, an an ode to indigenous athletes who have represented their country at the Games. Their stunning blazers, created by clothing brand Sportscraft, are lined with the monikers of 320 Australian gold medal winners.

Team Canada’s Olympic uniform for their closing ceremony, on the other hand, based on the ‘Canadian Tuxedo,’ took the Internet by a storm when it was announced last year. Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay collaborated with American denim brand Levi’s to create a denim jacket with striking patches on the front and black and red graffiti splattered on the back. More subdued red-and-white pieces, such as a warm-up jacket, striped track pants, and a T-shirt with a basic maple leaf motif, sit beneath this unconventional outerwear.
“Tokyo is also known for its street art and fashion,” Hudson’s Bay said. “We paid tribute to this in the must-have piece of the collection – the forever cool jean jacket. The graffiti graphic and unexpected patch placements capture a youthful and celebratory feel,” they added.

Eh, we hear people have been curious about our Canadian tuxedos after the release of @TeamUSA’s uniforms 🤔
Well you can 👀 all about our Tokyo 2020 kit here ➡️ https://t.co/ahIUBRTzhs pic.twitter.com/8hVSzRlOG5
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) April 15, 2021

Team Turkey’s athletic wear, designed by Turkish designer Bünyamin Aydın, founder of famed Turkish brand Les Benjamins, was showcased just a few days ago on June 24 in the Turkish capital of Istanbul. The collection made use of Nike jersey uniforms, with a color scheme dominated by reds and whites, with some navy blue looks. Aydın explained how he merged his Turkish roots into the logo patterns for the official sportswear, visible on the accessories, tracksuits, windbreakers, zippered tops, and polos.
“The journey started off going back to my heritage. With my own brand Les Benjamins, I was always inspired by carpets and rugs and the heritage of them… I had to focus on Anatolian rugs, which are from this country. I went to the city where they create Anatolian rugs, and I was with the villagers there and they told me how they do the craftsmanship behind creating their rugs. It helped me design and get more inspired,” he stated, according to Forbes.

Made from recycled fiber and dyed with eco-friendly pigments, Team Taiwan’s Summer Olympics uniform is all about being sustainable. The vivid blue uniform also displays Team Taipei’s plum blossom logo, which is inspired by many national symbols, like the ethnic groups of Baiyue or Taiwan’s 100 mountain peaks.

While the Russian team will be neutral this year, sporting red, white and blue in abstract color blocks across the front and the Russian Olympic Committee’s logo, Czech Republic designer Zuzana Osako has created her national team’s designs using print dye, featuring cobalt blue jumpsuits and white strapless dresses for women, and cobalt blue vests, white shirts and trousers for men.

The Olympic games will last until August 8, and the Paralympic games will start August 25 and go until September 5.
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Why Pink Will Always Be the Color That Shocks, Entices, and Enthralls

Why Pink Will Always Be the Color That Shocks, Entices, and Enthralls

From a history of rich meaning and traditions, pink still rises as the color to shock, entice, and enthrall.
Photographed by Julien Vallon
Ursula von der Leyen’s mood was about as magenta pink as her blazer when she was denied a proper seat during a diplomatic visit to Turkey in April. The first woman to head the European Commission and one of the most powerful in the world was relegated to a couch as her colleague Charles Michel, president of the European Council, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey settled into two chairs. Afterward, standing tall before the European Parliament, Von der Leyen warned that sexism endures at all levels. The German politician even speculated if appearing in less feminine attire would have granted her the treatment she deserved that day. “Would this have happened if I had worn a suit and a tie?” she asked.
Photo: Courtesy of Chanel
Historically, pink has proven to be one of the most emotionally evocative and controversial colors of all the spectrum. It’s most dazzling iteration, shocking pink, was popularized by the late Italian couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, who made the intense magenta her signature color in 1937, ensuring her subsequent designs stood out against the austere palettes of the battle-weary Forties. Decades later, further socio-political movements in the west would embrace the color again, when knitted pink hats became a symbol of the 2017 Women’s March, a worldwide protest movement against US President Donald Trump.
Pink is said to have been worn in ancient India and imperial China, as well as the upper echelons of 18th century European society, where it was a symbol of social status, since the materials used to dye such lavish garments were imported from expensive expeditions to central Asia and South America. In art, it symbolized youth and romance. Madame de Pompadour, the chief mistress of Louis XV of France, was so enamored with the color, French porcelain manufacturer Sèvres created a shade specifically for her, called Rose Pompadour, in 1757. Yet for centuries, the color was associated with masculinity, with boys being dressed in pink and girls in blue (with babies traditionally wearing white and the military mostly wearing red, pink was seen as appropriate for boys). This connection only started swapping in the 1940s, with the final transition to pink as a feminine color coming in the 1950s, when US first lady Mamie Eisenhower wore a pink gown as her inaugural dress, thereby cementing the color as one for “ladies.”
Photo: Courtesy of Stella McCartney
Bright pink soon found its way to the big screen, too. Marilyn Monroe wore shocking pink to scintillating effect in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Dressed in a raspberry William Travilla silk strapless gown and matching opera gloves, Monroe swatted away suitors with her fan while singing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” In the 1957 Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face, the magazine editor-in- chief character Maggie Prescott sings an ode to the color, exclaiming, “If she’s gotta think, think pink!” And who can forget the pink satin jackets donned by the Pink Ladies in the 1978 film Grease? The color made it off-screen, too, with many stars choosing shades of pink for some of their biggest moments. A tearful Gwyneth Paltrow wore a powder pink Ralph Lauren gown when she accepted her best actress Oscar in 1999; Rihanna chose a voluminous Giambattista Valli dress for the 2015 Grammy Awards; Lady Gaga displayed her unbridled sense of female emancipation on the 2019 Met Gala red carpet in a billowing shocking pink Brandon Maxwell dress.
Marilyn Monroe. Photo: Alamy
Designers from Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel to Schiaparelli’s most recent successor, Daniel Roseberry, demonstrate that pink is a symbol of feminine power. For his SS21 couture presentation, Roseberry borrowed a page from the maison’s surrealist past, unfurling a glossy black molded bustier with chiseled abs, enveloped in a signature shocking pink bow. “The pink, in particular, I find to be a very modern code of the house,” reflects the artistic director.
Lady Gaga. Photo: Getty
Regional couture designers Zuhair Murad, Nicolas Jebran, Azzi & Osta, and Rabih Kayrouz are also helping propel pink through the millennium. Known for their fashion-forward couture, George Azzi and Assaad Osta opted for a dessert motif for their SS21 collection of floor-sweeping evening looks, including luxuriant jumpers fastened with glamorous swathes of iridescent melon satin. “We don’t see pink as a color for girls. With its endless shades, pink can be perfect for decoration, interiors, menswear… Anything, really. For women, it signifies blush powders, vibrant skin, attractiveness… It represents the softer or wilder side of a man or woman,” Azzi & Osta explains. Meanwhile, Chanel offered bubblegum pink tweed suits styled over magenta swimsuits for Resort 2021; Loewe featured the rosy hue as a backdrop for sunflower prints for SS21; Gucci SS21 offered electric pink as potential officewear in the form of a shirt and pants; and Stella McCartney broke out the potent hue across a one- sleeved dress with capuche for its SS21 presentation.

Many of the colors on the runway are conceived by textile mills like Taroni SpA near Italy’s palazzo- studded Lake Como. Its CEO and creative director, Maximilian Canepa, a 12th generation textile maker, is the keeper of more than 1000 color recipes influenced by everything from shiny salmon skins to corals; from camellias plucked from the family garden to the vintage cars. “If you take a color from something valuable or so rare in nature and from something powerful and rich, it resonates with creatives,” remarks Canepa.
Photo: Courtesy of Zuhair Murad
Pink does have its naysayers, though, especially among people rejecting the rigid gender-conformity still associated with it. While some parents choose not to buy their daughters any rose-colored clothing, others have spoken about being “pink shamed” for dressing them in pink instead of more gender-neutral colors. Perhaps pink will always carry the ability to shock. Roseberry considers that the prowess the color stands for has become even stronger over time. It is a hue ever related to power, creativity, and individuality – fit for the women of today.
Read Next: Burberry Makes History with this Groundbreaking Pledge
Originally published in the June 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

Reading the State of Retail in Fashion’s Quarterly Reports

Reading the State of Retail in Fashion’s Quarterly Reports

There’s no perfect read on this extraordinary moment in retail history — but Walmart Inc., Target Corp., Ralph Lauren Corp., VF Corp. and Macy’s Inc. together gave a kind of synopsis of the situation in the U.S. with their quarterly updates last week.
The pandemic is waning in the U.S. and Europe as vaccinations rise, consumers are coming back out (buying dresses, but staying casual) and the start of the new normal could be here after more than a year of hibernation. 
Many companies went bust in the pandemic, but the strongest players did their best to position themselves to try to catch the boom afterward — and now they’re starting to go for it. 
It’s an uncertain mad scramble for what’s next, with fingers crossed that some new COVID-19 variant doesn’t slow it all back down. 

Here, a look at what the industry learned last week as some of the biggest U.S. players opened their books and started talking more about the future now that they’re on firmer ground. 
Cash Is Still King
Amid the human tragedy of the coronavirus was a downright financial emergency — and it was the chief financial officers who had to act. They stepped in to cut costs and started storing up cash, while many also moved to cut their debt. Some companies have let loose of the purse strings — VF Corp. made its move to snap up Supreme in a $2.1 billion deal. But many are still sitting on a pile of cash that could be put to work as the industry continues its fast-forward transformation.

The fashion COVID-19 playbook generally called for squirreling away cash and cutting debt.

Date
Cash, Short-term Investments
(in billions)

One-year Change
Total Debt
(in billions)

One-year Change

TJX Cos. Inc.
5/1/21
$8.8
104.7%
$14.8
-10.1%

Target Corp.
5/1/21
$7.8
70.5%
$15.2
-8.7%

Walmart Inc.
4/30/21
$22.8
53.0%
$62.8
-18.0%

Ralph Lauren Corp.
3/27/21
$2.8
31.2%
$3.6
12.2%

Macy’s Inc.
5/1/21
$1.8
18.1%
$8.0
-6.6%

VF Corp.
3/31/21
$1.4
3.3%
$7.0
33.5%

Kohl’s Corp.
5/1/21
$1.6
-21.1%
$6.3
-18.4%

Source: S&P Capital IQ

Leaner and Meaner Leads
The crisis focused the corporate mind and many business models. The mantra for the strongest in 2020 was centered on coming out of the pandemic even stronger. That translated into efforts to cut costs, stores, real estate and focusing in on a company’s strengths. 
Ralph Lauren Corp. took over $700 million in sales out of its business last year as it shifted Chaps to a licensed model, agreed to sell Club Monaco, left more than 200 U.S. department stores, cut its off-price business and moved to reduce daigou sales. 
That has freed the company to build on its namesake brand and move prices higher — average unit retail prices at the company rose 26 percent last year and are on a four-year tear. 
“We view our brand as bigger than our business,” said Patrice Louvet, president and chief executive officer, who is especially pumped up about bringing 4 million new customers into the company’s direct-to-consumer network last year.  “Typically these new consumers are higher-basket size, higher profits from a gross margin standpoint and younger, so really an exciting profile,” he said. 
Party Hearty Ahead 
Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, said customers are ready to get out and spend — and keep spending. 
“You’ve got customers with very low credit card balances, lots of open to spend, and to varying degrees they’ve been cooped up over the last year,” he said. 

“This will be a gigantic gift holiday. We are approaching it that way,” Gennette said, projecting strong demand in fragrance, fine jewelry, boots, handbags and home categories. 
And New Year’s celebrations? The CEO is looking for them to “be at a whole other level.”
Keeping Habits 
As the world opens back up, most expect consumers to change again, rolling into the future instead of reverting back to where they were in early 2020. But as shoppers evolve, they are starting from an outlook that’s been shaped by a year spent closer to home for many. 
Michelle Gass, CEO of Kohl’s, said: “Consumers will continue to live more actively and casually as normalcy returns. As more people return to work, resume travel and attend events and gatherings, they are seeking out new and updated apparel while maintaining the preference for casual comfort, which fits squarely into the product categories we are taking a leadership position in. Against this backdrop, Kohl’s is positioned really well.”
Staying Essential 
While much of the industry was put on its back foot by the COVID-19 lockdowns, the broad line giants — especially Walmart and Target — were able to stay open and curry favor with shoppers as they doled out groceries and other essential items. And as the world has opened back up, they seem to be benefitting from the momentum.
Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO of Target Corp., said, “Market-share gains of more than $1 billion in the first quarter, on top of $1 billion in share gains a year ago, demonstrate Target’s continued relevance with our guests, even as they have many more shopping options compared with a year ago. Our performance in the first quarter was outstanding on every measure and showcased the power of putting our stores at the center of our strategy.” The mass merchant used stores to fulfill the majority of its online orders. 
Stores Star
After a year of amped-up growth of e-commerce, retailers are able to again accentuate their brick-and-mortar operations. For T.J. Maxx and Marshalls parent The TJX Cos. Inc., which is still heavily dependent on stores, that’s especially good news. 
“Our treasure-hunt shopping experience, eclectic mix of merchandise, and great brands and values continue to resonate with shoppers across our geographies,” said Ernie Herrman, chief executive officer and president. “While the environment remains uncertain, particularly internationally, we are convinced we are strongly positioned as we emerge from this health crisis.”

And offprice leader TJX said it’s not done building boxes. “We see a significant opportunity to grow our global store base at each of our divisions,” Herrman said. “In total, we believe we can open more than 1,600 additional stores to grow to about 6,275 stores in the long term just with our current banners and our current countries. Availability of real estate is terrific, and we see plenty of opportunities to open new stores or relocate existing stores.”
Techier Still
Fashion has spent the last year leaning into technology more than ever (and out necessity). The trend shows no sign of slowing down on either the consumer side of the business or the supply chain.
Steve Rendle, chairman, president and CEO of Vans and Supreme parent VF Corp., said: “We’ve been actively working to accelerate our hyper digital journey in fiscal ’21 with continued focus on a central consumer data platform that’s accessible to our brands and that enables them to understand consumers more deeply and to engage them in more meaningful and personal ways. And we leverage new technologies and processes to further digitize our go-to-market approach with advancements in 3D design and development, virtual product reviews and digital printing capabilities that shorten production calendars and accelerate our ability to flow newness and innovation.”
Not Over Yet
For the biggest of the big, operating with truly global scale, COVID-19 remains a real and present danger. 
Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, said: “The past several weeks have been more challenging in some countries. India, Canada, Chile and South Africa are priorities at the moment. Supporting our associates is our primary focus, but we’re also investing our resources to support the countries as we find opportunities to do so. In India, we’re donating oxygen concentrators, PPE and financial support.”
But through it all, Walmart has been able to press its advantages and expand. “We saw an acceleration of traffic in our stores, gained market share in grocery, improved in-stock levels and grew e-commerce sales globally by 43 percent in constant currency, excluding recent divestitures,” McMillon said in his update to Wall Street. “Global e-commerce penetration now represents over 12 percent of total company sales, an increase of 340 basis points over last year.”
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Ralph Lauren to Create Special Baseball Collection

Ralph Lauren to Create Special Baseball Collection

As a kid growing up on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx, Ralph Lauren lived and breathed the New York Yankees. A lifelong dream became reality in the fall of 2018 when the then-78-year-old designer was invited to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium to commemorate his brand’s 50th anniversary.
To celebrate the occasion, Lauren created a special edition Polo x Yankees collection, consisting of a Ralph 50th logo Wilson leather mitt, a New Era and “RL 50” logo hat, a Rawlings baseball with a pony logo and an embroidered Ralph Lauren satin baseball jacket.
That collection, which sold out almost immediately, has led to a larger collaboration with Major League Baseball. Starting today, Lauren’s company will launch a multiyear partnership with the league to design collections for some of baseball’s most popular teams. The first offering will include the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Later this year, the Boston Red Sox and other teams will be added. The collection will feature polo shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and New Era caps for adults and children and will include special team-themed Polo Bear polos and sweatshirts.

Special Polo Bear shirts have been created for the collection. 
BMG_PHOTOGRAPHY

“It started with the invitation to pitch,” said Ralph Lauren’s son David Lauren, vice chairman and chief innovation officer for Ralph Lauren Corp. As the designer was preparing for his big night on the mound, it “reawoke so much of his childhood. He started to talk a lot about growing up in the Bronx and what the Yankees meant and what baseball meant, what stickball meant, and then there was the opportunity to do a special capsule for the Yankees.”

A look from the Yankees collection. 
BMG_PHOTOGRAPHY

David Lauren said by the time his father walked off the mound after throwing the ball to catcher Gary Sanchez, the collection had sold out. “I remember him going back to his seat, everybody was cheering and somebody asked him, ‘Ralph, how do I get that jacket you’re wearing?’ He said, ‘You can get it at the store or online.’ And I’m whispering to him: ‘It’s gone.’ He couldn’t believe it was gone by the time he sat in the dugout,” his son recalled.
That success led to a larger conversation with MLB, which asked the designer to work on a more comprehensive initiative and include other teams. The decision was made to start with four, and add the Red Sox in September, David Lauren said. And if this is as successful as expected, “our goal is to add more teams,” including the Yankees’ crosstown rival, the New York Mets.
Lauren described the first drop as “much more classic. It’s staying with the team colors — my dad wanted something that was really authentic to the teams, but we added some red satin jackets for the Yankees, and things he thought looked really graphic. There are some interesting twists.”
For fall and holiday, there will be what David Lauren described as “a few more fashion surprises” that will include “some of the iconography of Ralph Lauren.”

Ralph Lauren created special fashion-themed jackets for the line. 

“We wanted to do something very authentic for the first delivery and that guarantees interest from the fans, and as people see it evolve, we built that into the equation,” he continued, adding that there will be three deliveries before the end of the year.

The partnership will be promoted through a digital global campaign inspired by vintage baseball cards that will be featured on outdoor wallscapes and murals in key cities. In addition, Ralph’s Airstream, a custom mobile home, will go on a cross-country tour, stopping in select locations including New York City and Chicago offering baseball-themed food and drinks including hot dogs and fries to fans and selling the product at certain stops. Select wholesale partners will offer co-branded Ralph Lauren x MLB popcorn as a gift with purchase.

Ralph Lauren is featured on a vintage baseball card. 

The collection will be available beginning today at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, the MLB flagship in New York City, select MLB Club stadium shops, at some Ralph Lauren stores around the world, online and on the Polo app. Prices will range from $69.50 for hats and $125 to $148 for polos to $168 for a hoodie and $498 for a jacket. The children’s collection Reily sells for $49.50 to $295.
The partnership with MLB is the latest sports collaboration for the Ralph Lauren brand. The company also works with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, the PGA of America, the U.S. Ryder Cup team and the American Junior Golf Association.
Most recently, the brand unveiled the closing ceremony uniforms for the U.S. team for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
David Lauren said: “Like the Olympics, this is Ralph Lauren celebrating the American spirit, the American pastime, a piece of the world he grew up with that is evolving into the future and, like Polo and Ralph Lauren, seems to get better with age. Baseball just becomes part of our culture. It creates an emotion in our lives that we need more than ever now. People can’t wait to go back out to a baseball park and cheer together for their favorite team and to feel a togetherness and a spirit. And baseball and sports just have a magic that you can’t replicate. So to be a part of that energy, at this time in history, is very special.”

‘A Quiet Kind of Elegance’: Designers Pay Tribute to Philip’s Style

‘A Quiet Kind of Elegance’: Designers Pay Tribute to Philip’s Style

LONDON — Fashion figures and royal observers said they’ll remember Prince Philip for his charm, sense of humor (at times blunt or controversial), understated elegance and personal style. The prince always knew how to behave in public, and to hang back with the sort of poise and grace befitting of a monarch’s consort.
Penny Junor, who has penned myriad books on members of the royal family and other public figures, described Philip’s style as “very relaxed. He did not stand on ceremony.”
She said his preference was to travel in a black London cab rather than in a Rolls-Royce. “And he made people laugh — he was good at putting people at ease.” She said that one would know immediately where Philip was in a room by the laughter emanating from the space.

As a British Royal Navy officer, the prince learned early on about discipline, restraint — and how to wear a uniform to best effect. His daytime uniform long featured spread-collar shirts — mostly white; a colored, striped or subtly patterned tie, and a jacket with a natural shoulder. The crease in his trousers was always pronounced and his pocket square white and straight like a piece of cardboard.
“He was always elegant, stylish and impeccably dressed,” right down to the angle of his tweed cap, said Anne de Courcy, the English biographer and journalist.

Tommy Hilfiger said he saw Prince Philip “as a true gentleman. His style was timeless with a sophisticated Old World charm. He obviously was very respectful of others, which is more important than anything one could ever wear.”
Ralph Lauren said the prince “had a quiet kind of elegance, understated and unfashionably fashionable. His timeless sophistication made him the epitome of a true gentleman.”
Thom Browne concurred, saying the prince moved through life with “timeless, effortless, sophisticated and quiet style.”
James Sherwood, author of “Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke,” told WWD in 2012 that “One does not see [Philip] indulging in the sartorial high jinks of a Duke of Windsor, and he resolutely avoids fuss and unnecessary detail.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip 
AP

“You do not see clouds of silk exploding from his breast pocket. You will not see extravagant tie knots in rich patterns. The duke necessarily chooses sober and robust British cloths. Like the Queen, his choices are practical,” said Sherwood.
His longtime tailor was John Kent, of Kent & Haste on London’s Sackville Street, off Savile Row. But while he may have had a tailor on tap, the prince was known — like so many of the royals — for recycling his wardrobe.
In August 2008, just as the world was melting into the great financial crisis, the duke famously asked Kent — who was then working at Norton & Sons — to restyle a favorite pair of baggy herringbone trousers from the ’50s, making them narrower and more contemporary-looking.
At military events, the prince often wore the same naval uniform he donned for his wedding to Princess Elizabeth in 1947. For new military attire, he turned to Kashket & Partners, who outfitted Prince William and the page boys at the latter’s wedding.
“His style is very English and classic — and it hasn’t changed for years. And he’s amazingly fit and slender,” said Majesty Magazine editor in chief Ingrid Seward in a 2017 with WWD.

The duke was also able to work a sporty weekend look with ease. He preferred cords to jeans, and was never without his waterproof gear, tweeds and flat caps for those blustery weekends at Balmoral in Scotland or sunny strolls on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
“Because he was something of an outsider, he always went out of his way to look as quintessentially British as possible. Consequently, he was obviously Britain’s best-dressed man,” said Dylan Jones, BFC chair of men’s wear and editor of British GQ.
Roger Tredre, MA Fashion Communication course leader at Central Saint Martins, concurred, describing the duke as “a great ambassador for classic British tailoring, particularly the double-breasted suit. In the 1950s and 1960s, he was genuinely influential — a young man with model looks who wore everything with a sense of ease, from military uniform to the kilt to the cricket sweater. As to his relevance for our times, it’s the understated outdoor looks that stick in the mind: the polo field attire, the sailing jumpers, the Riviera bathing trunks.”

Ralph Lauren Taps Jack Becht as Creative Director, Agency

Ralph Lauren Taps Jack Becht as Creative Director, Agency

Ralph Lauren Corp., which has been on course to build even stronger digital connections, has made some key changes in its creative department.
Jack Becht, most recently digital fashion director at Selfridges, joined last month as creative director, agency,  at Ralph Lauren, overseeing the Polo, Luxury, Lauren, Home and RL content studio divisions.
He reports to Alice Delahunt, chief digital and content officer, who has been with the company for three years, having cut her teeth at Google, Snap Inc. and Burberry, where she worked for six years and rose to global director of digital and social.
Becht has more than 10 years of experience in advertising, branded content and editorial. Prior to his year at Selfridges, he spent three years as creative director at Condé Nast, where he led the Fashion/Luxury group creating advertising and content campaigns for client’s channels, as well as the print, digital and social platforms of Condé Nast’s brand portfolios.

This move comes on the heels of the retirement of Buffy Birrittella, executive vice president, senior adviser to Ralph Lauren and senior creative director of women’s Collection. She left the company March 31, after working closely with the designer for 50 years, overseeing women’s design and bringing Lauren’s vision to life. No successor will be named for her, as reported.

Becht succeeds Nathan Copan, senior vice president and creative director, concept and integration, who left the company effective March 31.
Leading with digital continues to be a key strategy at Ralph Lauren.
Last December, Patrice Louvet, president and chief executive officer, said, “The pandemic challenged every single one of us in retail to implement digital strategies faster than we ever thought possible and create new digital approaches.”
In pondering the importance of digital in business today,  he said, “We as an industry have to ask ourselves some fundamental questions. In a truly connected retail world, what is the role of the store? Is the store a marketing tool or a sales channel? Are metrics like four-wall profitability still relevant?” And beyond that, “What does one-to-one marketing and personalized shopping look like in the future?” he said. “And how do we leverage AI to get to a level of precision never achieved before and apply it without inadvertent bias?”
In February, while releasing third-quarter results, Louvet spoke about the company’s five-part strategic plan, which includes attracting new consumers, energizing core products, expanding by geography, leading with digital and operating with discipline.
He said sales through the company’s own digital channels rose by 10 percent in North America, but increased more than 70 percent in Europe and Asia. He explained that the company was resetting its North American website, which had grown “very dependent” on an international customer stocking up, adding volume but not much to the bottom line. Now the site is being refocused on the growing domestic business.
As reported, Lauren is following up its September move to cut 15 percent of its workforce by the end of fiscal 2021, or 3,600 positions, by reducing its physical footprint, from office space to stores to distribution centers. Overall, the company’s slimming down is expected to lead to pre-tax expense savings of $200 million to $240 million, as reported.

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