Today, Ralph Lauren is not so much a brand as an empire. In the space of 45 years, the company that began in 1967 with a collection of men's ties has developed into 13 lines of apparel, countless fragrances, watches, and the home collection: it also includes Lauren's famous collection of rare cars, and various charitable organizations. From the outset, Lauren sought to combine American design, sophistication and attention to detail, or as he says, “[a] desire on my part to want great things.” Initially dedicated exclusively to men, the brand's meteoric growth and prestige were confirmed by the commission of men’s costumes for the 1974 film The Great Gatsby; women's collections soon arrived, and the brand introduced its distinctive boutique style from one country to another.
"I'm drawing inspiration from my life," explains Lauren, "from history, from movies, from books, from everything I see. I put it together and try to make a statement." This applies to all he does: "whether it be handbags, or shoes or suits or watches, there is always the artist who lives and breathes the products and all they are doing, and my goal is to search out and bring all that to the world of Ralph Lauren.”
One of the most significant new products this season is the Soft Ricky bag, developed from the Ricky that was named after Ralph Lauren's wife and muse. The Soft Ricky has a more relaxed appearance as a result of the high quality of the materials. It is made from calfskin bonded to leather nappa in a contrasting colour, and shaped on carved wood moulds in order to obtain its distinctive lines. As a result, the new bag is lighter and softer, but still retains the shape and outline of the Ricky. Like many Ralph Lauren bags, it is manufactured by hand in Italy, by skilled craftsmen, using only the finest materials. Each piece can take up to 12 hours to make. Every component is cut by hand and then stamped with the Ralph Lauren logo. Hardware includes a silver-toned Cooper lock, with two keys and a pochette. The glorious colour range comprises 25 bright hues, including a daring gold version.
Ralph Lauren has five own-brand stores in Dubai, to be joined this season by the brand's first store in Abu Dhabi. The new store is on the first floor of The Galleria at Sowwah Square, at the heart of Abu Dhabi's central business district on Al Maryah Island, slated to become the city's premium shopping destination. Here, amidst limestone floors, warm timber ceilings, aged bronze, leather and crystal, the signature look of Ralph Lauren's boutiques is created by hand-woven abaca, wool and silk carpets, saddle-leather ottomans, art pieces, photographs, and wood vases, creating the perfect setting in which to browse the range by a designer of irresistible success.
The new store in Abu Dhabi is at:
The Galleria, Level 1
Sowwah Square, Al Maryah Island
Tel. +971 (0)2 6266 724