Four-and-a-half years ago, our erstwhile columnist The Millennial Fogey mused on the uncertain future of neo-prep. Well, fashion life cycles are pretty short these days, and I think we can say it’s back.
I’m a bit biased when it comes to Ralph Lauren. They’re my longest running client, as I’ve written for their online magazine for a dozen or more years. In fact, I’m on assignment once again right now, and for those who are new here, a feature I did on Miles Davis and The Andover Shop became the inspiration for launching this site a decade ago.
For the past several years RL has been in a “downtown” mode, their in-house term for a monochromatic casual look — even among the usually preppy Polo line. Well I just had a look at the new spring pages on the Ralph Lauren website, and once again, after 50 years in business, RL is making the effort to keep alive the taste for Preppy-Ivy-Trad-Americana (haven’t used the PITA acronym in quite some time!)
Of course, at this particular stage of American civilization, we’re in a post-post irony era. The web copy touts “Modern Prep: An eclectic, irreverent take on iconic Polo style.”
There also seems to be a return to a greater use of models. Over the past couple of years readers have written to me wondering if I’d noticed that the RL website was using mostly product shots with fewer full outfits on models. I think they were right and after recent changes in leadership, it looks like the new chief is refocusing on the classic formulas that built the brand in the first place.
Oh, and I see they’ve recycled my khaki story to go with the collection. Now I’m really biased…. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD