News / December 2019

Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion

Discussing his new biography of America’s greatest designer, Alan Flusser explains why Ralph Lauren is so far beyond fashion, he’s actually at its forefront.

"No article of apparel better epitomizes Ralph’s sweet spot of aspirational style than the polo coat," writes Alan Flusser in his latest work of men's style literature. (Photo courtesy of The New York Times/Redux).

Most of the clothes that you see on runways are there for purposes other than actually being worn as part of a wardrobe — they’re there to show a certain level of creativity or whatever,” says author and menswear swami, Alan Flusser. The thing that sets Ralph Lauren apart from run-of-the-mill clothing designers is his prioritisation not of flash, but enduring style. “Ralph never wanted to be in fashion, he wanted to be his own fashion — there’s a gigantic difference,” Flusser says. From that creative approach springs the title of Flusser’s latest book, Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion. Painstakingly written, curated and designed over the course of a decade, the lavish coffee-table tome / illustrated biography delivers an unprecedented deep-dive into the worlds of style shaped by Ralph Lauren since the establishment of his eponymous brand in 1967.

In covering 50-plus years of the RL aesthetic — a seamless, timeless mélange spanning the decades — Flusser’s book showcases Lauren’s talent at “teaching people about how to dress well, which is about getting them to look beyond the moment.” Whereas most fashion designers are focused on “making headlines and creating design firsts,” Flusser explains, “Ralph’s interest is making sure he is designing clothes in the form of wearable classics that can be added to his existing customers’ evolving wardrobes.” Helping people develop successful personal style, Flusser says, is about “giving them the components they need and the know-how to put them together.” He says although the clothes at a Ralph Lauren runway show will always be incredible, sometimes what’s most interesting is the way they’re put together — a battered denim western shirt with a pinstripe suit, for instance, or a camel polo coat with grey-marl sweatpants, or a fisherman’s jumper with a vintage motorcycle jacket. “The sort of advanced moves only guys who really know how to dress can execute,” Flusser says.

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