Tell us about this show. What makes it different?
We’ve decided to do a different experience, a very intimate experience, different from what we’ve done before. In the past Ralph Lauren has generally done small-venue shows, he has not been into grandiose extravaganzas. But for this event, we decided that it was important to do something that celebrates a new trend in fashion, and to be a leader in that trend was to be one of the first fashion brands to bring the shopping experience and the fashion show together. We’re doing the entire collection as a ‘shop now’ collection; every belt, every hat, every shoe, every gown, is made at the highest level of quality and craftsmanship and will be available to shop right after the show.
Why is it so important to go buy now?
What’s happened in the last 10 years is that fashion is changing and the world is changing. Consumers are getting immediate satisfaction. The customer is expecting things to move faster. On the flip side, the industry is moving faster, and you’re getting copied by fast fashion, so it behooves great designers to be able to show their product in a way that satisfies the consumer and allows their originality to stand out and be recognised before it’s copied.
And there’s nothing more frustrating than a customer seeing it, waiting six months and then seeing all the copycats in between. You still have to wait many months between shows, so the anticipation of what the next show’s going to be is still exciting. So I think there’s still a drama and the highest level of craftsmanship.
Where did you hold the show?
We closed Madison Avenue, which had never been done before; it’s like a first, and we put on a major show, but a very small and intimate show, and we closed one of the fashion arteries of the world. I think that the Mayor of New York City, and the government of America is sending a message to the world about New York fashion, Ralph Lauren and leadership, about what we are doing to help change fashion and it starts here in NYC.
And not just fashion, you’re shifting the entire culture.
Yes, I think technology is disruptive and every industry is going through disruption and at first, it’s awkward, then it becomes expected and being there first and being part of that disruption is exciting and challenging. And what you’ve done with your magazine is quite disruptive as well. To be a magazine that celebrates a seamless integration between technology and print is sort of what we’re doing. Being a famous, 50-year old company we have to constantly look to the future, reinvent ourselves and think about how to satisfy consumers in new ways.
What have been the challenges of closing Madison for this?
Well. The first challenge is getting permits in NYC to do anything. The government has been amazing and the Mayor’s office has been incredibly supportive because of the symbolism of what this means. The second thing is construction challenges and working with a building with a traditional sensibility, although we built it. And we’re attaching a beautiful modern glass box that looks like it descended from heaven onto Madison Avenue.
Tell us about CoCo Lee and Ralph Lauren. Why her?
She’s very refined and elegant and has an appreciation for the aesthetic of Ralph Lauren and we’re excited to get to know her more. And it’s a unique opportunity for her to get to know the spirit of this brand, too.