Rare Find: 1972 Polo Press Kit Offered For Your Curiosity And Holiday Shopping Needs

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I’ve been sitting on this post for six months, and it finally occurred to me that it would make a good Christmas or Hanukkah gift for the man who has everything.

A reader mailed these with me to share, and we quickly decided that we might as well sell them. I’ve listed the items myself and will take an auction-house cut. According to the owner, they were found at a Brooklyn flea market in 2009. It seems to be a press kit from the early days of the Polo brand. Ralph Lauren started in the business in 1967, and the Polo name was first used in ’68. these are dated 1972.

The lot consists of 11 photos on 8.5 x 11 paper, one contact sheet, and five pages of press release text. A note on one photo suggests these images were destined for the April ’72 issue of Mademoiselle.

What’s interesting for us here is how early Ralph Lauren embraced the polo coat. Yesterday, before deciding to put up this post, I broke out my coat for the first time this season. I also happened to end up shopping in Polo on Fifth Avenue (gloves and socks). The sales clerk noted my coat immediately, and indeed there was a rack of them. But lately the brand has been putting a military-style flap pocket on the breast, a dealbreaker for me.

To check out the auction, head over to the listing here on eBay. Ivy Style is not responsible for readers who may break the bank on a polo coat or take up pipesmoking. — CC

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19 Comments on "Rare Find: 1972 Polo Press Kit Offered For Your Curiosity And Holiday Shopping Needs"

  1. As a sometime flak, I find the press release formats interesting. No headlines. No phone numbers. No logos. No quotes from anyone. More emphasis on the release date, the least important piece of information. And of course, American Typewriter font (I think. I suck at fonts).

  2. Besides the pleats and lapels that are just a tad wide, these looks are timeless. It’s pure Ralph’s genius designs, spins on classics while staying true to tradition. I just wish I had some of the clothing…

  3. Interesting to note, that tennis photograph was previously featured on this site: http://www.ivy-style.com/tennis-anyone-ralph-lauren-1972.html

  4. We still have a 1972 men’s camel hair RL Polo coat purchased on sale in 1973 at the Kaufmann’s Department Store dedicated men’s Polo Store in Pittsburgh, PA. The coat is still beautiful and my wife often still wears it!

    At the time, Kaufman’s former President, David Farrell, was the President of May Department Stores (parent company of Kaufmann’s), visited the downtown main Pittsburgh often, and made sure the shop was well stocked with Polo RL clothing and sportswear; the women’s Designer floor also had woman’s Polo clothing and sportswear. At that time just finding Ralph Lauren’s clothing and sportswear presented quite the challenge. I don’t recall the price of the coat but Polo silk wide ties were $18.50, dress shirts $25.00 and suits in the $225 – $350 range. RL had no stores of his own. Bloomingdales had a dedicated small Polo department, Paul Stuart sold Polo suits in 1973, Britches of Georgetown sold Polo, Jerry Magnin had his Polo Store in Beverly Hills and Wilkes Bashford sold Polo in SF, with a branch store in a hotel on Nob Hill.

  5. @Christian.

    I was visiting NYC last weekend with my wife and broke out the coat too. Ditto on the compliments in the store and the fact that mine is sans chest flap too. However, I’ve also noticed that the version they sell today is about a foot longer than mine (bought eight years back). Thinking about having it shortened by the tailors at the store here in Chicago for a more updated look. Thoughts?

  6. *Sorry, I meant the coat they sell today is a foot shorter.

  7. @Benjamin

    “a more updated look”?
    Don’t do it; you’ll regret it.

  8. Front Porch Life | December 12, 2016 at 11:50 am |

    Look at those wide lapels! These folks look like they should be chasing Jim Rockford in a Lincoln Continental.

  9. In Ralph’s mind, the Tom Buchanan’s and the Daisy’s of our empty, beautiful, twisted little world will always end up together.

  10. JWK
    In the Midwest during the entire 1970s Polo was only sold in small independent men’s Ivy/Trad clothing stores. The department stores did carry them till around 1980.

    I miss the bellows pocket tweed jackets, but we use to joke about the lapels, you could hang glided with them.

  11. Benjamin
    I agreed with Etymologue “don’t do it”. It is a classic look and more functional than a “short” coat.

  12. Mac, just night an old Polo jacket from the mid-70s and it has those bellows pockets. Lapels are a tad wide.

  13. I measured the lapels on my 70’s Polo navy flannel blazer they’re an even 4 inches. Not too bad for the era and it was well made by Lanham in Lawrence, MA.

  14. What I found most striking in these images at first glance was the female models. They are the sleek, flat & short “twiggy” style from mid-60’s mod culture, but the clothing is definitely wide 70’s. These images seem to be taken during an interesting transition period. The 1970’s female form with big hair, big curves and big teeth (like the lapels and trouser bottoms) must not have arisen yet even though the clothing was already there.

  15. Jerry
    When has Ralph ever used “big hair, big curves and big teeth” models? He married a woman like the ones in the photos. She also occasionally modeled in some Polo print ads, but I don’t think she was a model when he met her.

    http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/legacy/i/partypictures/12_02_14/Ricky-Lauren-Ad.jpg

  16. ‘When has Ralph ever used “big hair, big curves and big teeth” models?’

    Look at any current RL ads. That description is apt circa 2015-16.

  17. Carmelo Pugliatti | December 13, 2016 at 9:02 pm |

    With short hair,without facial hairs, with a little less wide in lapels and ties,
    without flare in trousers, 70s fashion was not so bad…almost the classic side.

  18. Carmelo Pugliatti
    Actually, Ralph’s trousers weren’t flared, they were tapered to the knee and then stove piped to the cuff. Like a Levi 501, obviously fuller. Unfortunately, many hemed the cuffs with a slant to the back.

  19. Jerry
    With the exception of larger curvier women on the RL website, most of the models today pretty much resemble models of the past. I can think of only one or two “busty” RL models over the years.

    Having “grow up” in the 50s and 60s I think my idea of “big hair” is different than your’s. True RL’s models have seemed to transition from very great hair cuts (see the tennis scene from “Changing Places”) to just natural long hair ( see Ali Macgraw in “Love Story” or Ross in “The Graduate”) . Both looks were/are congruent with Ivy style,This probably has to do with RL’ heavy hit to casual denim over the years, although FYI, RL did denim two piece suits in the early 70s and trousers (not jeans). Not my cup of tea and I didn’t get it, I thought he might have just for fun like his all black tennis outfit.

    Just my perspective, we all have differing ones, which is what makes this site great.

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