Closing the Flagship Polo Store

I remember walking down Fifth Avenue with my mom, a young teenager just starting to get a sense of my own style, and seeing for the first time The flagship Ralph Lauren Polo store. Elegant and sophisticated, it represented everything stylish and sleek in my young eyes – quite simply, it was the home of fashion. Now I understand this home is closing its doors on April 15. Struggling with declining sales, Ralph Lauren Corporation will close this flagship store on Fifth Avenue, revamp its e-commerce operations, and cut jobs.

I am sad knowing that it will be gone; it will take with it memories of myself at a younger age and times daydreaming with my mother about New York, and fashion, and style.

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Lighting the Fashion Torch at the 2016 Olympics

Swedish athletes Tomas Hjert, from left, Stephanie Ydström, Sara Sjöström, Khaddi Sagnia and Simon Sjödin model pieces designed by H&M for Team Sweden. (H&M)

Swedish athletes Tomas Hjert, from left, Stephanie Ydström, Sara Sjöström, Khaddi Sagnia and Simon Sjödin model pieces designed by H&M for Team Sweden. (Photo: H&M)

In just a few weeks the Summer Olympic Games in Rio will kick off and the world will not only be tuning into the global athletic competition, but to the fashion show that begins with the August 5 Opening Ceremony. Once again, fashion designers will be outfitting their designated teams. Stella McCartney is serving as designer for Great Britain’s team with her original idea of a coat of arms, Polo Ralph Lauren is once again designing for Team United States, Giorgio Armani is designing for Team Italy, and Stockholm-based H&M is designing for Swedish Olympic and Paralympic athletes. What I love about the H&M fashion story, is that the designs will be made of recycled polyester fiber. H&M has made eco-consciousness and sustainability a focus over the last few years and I love that this concentration is inspiring the team’s Olympic outfits.

Many of the teams have yet to reveal the fashion looks, which will make the Opening Ceremony one really large global red carpet. I will be watching!

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Ralph Lauren Unveils A New Era of Shopping

 Polo Ralph Lauren associate trying out the interactive fitting room. Thomas Iannaccone

WWD; Photo by Thomas Iannaccone

News via WWD: The Oak Fitting Room was unveiled yesterday at Polo Ralph Lauren’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Created by tech startup Oak Labs, this “integrated commerce” experience (as described by Oak Labs) will give the customer an enhanced shopping experience. Upon entering the fitting room with their selected items (all recognized via RFID chip), customers will be given the choice of three lighting settings: Fifth Avenue Daylight, East Hampton Sunset and Evening at The Polo Bar. They will see a touchscreen interactive mirror and can tap on the mirror to request a different size, corresponding items, or to seek assistance from an associate. At the end of the fitting room experience customers have the option of pressing the “I’m ready to check out” button on the screen and an associate would come with a mobile point of sale to complete the purchase.

Says David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Ralph Lauren: “Both technology and the human touch are equal elements of Polo’s personality, and our customers should experience them seamlessly whether they are in the stores or shopping online.” Can this be done, I wonder? Bring the ease of online, e-commerce shopping into the stores for a complete yet personal shopping experience for the customer? To be able to gather the information and data that one can pick up online and still have the touch-and-feel experience of being in the store is a huge opportunity for Polo Ralph Lauren. If technology can indeed match the human element in the shopping experience, perhaps so.

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A Plaid and Plentiful Target Collaboration with Potential

Adam Lippes for Target Collection

Adam Lippes for Target Collection; photo, Target

Who is Adam Lippes and why is his Adam Lippes for Target Collaboration a potential fashion favorite? A luxury designer who began his career in fashion at Polo Ralph Lauren and then moved on to Oscar de la Renta as one of the youngest creative directors in the designer fashion world, Mr. Lippes eventually launched his namesake line. Eight seasons in, he is known for his clean lines and wearable pieces. All of which he will bring to the upcoming Target collaboration in stores and at Target.com just in time for fall on September 27.

There have been many Target collaborations and we may be wary of yet another, but there is something about this plaid and plentiful offering that reminds me of the earlier collaboration with fashion megastar, Missoni. Continue reading

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