I haven’t really spent a lot of time thinking about Ralph Lauren.
There was one time during the phase of my life when I used to stand in Home Depot and stare at the paint color cards. The most prominent spot in the color card aisle was given over to a line of RL paint that would give the look of suede or denim to your walls. I didn’t linger long there because it was a multi-step process and also it cost three times as much as non-designer paint so I went back to staring at the store-brand paint samples.
Another time I was at a big company awards dinner. It was the kind of thing where low-to-mid level managers would be called up one at a time to receive a certificate for some bullshit accomplishment like Fewest Sick Calls In Your Division For Q2. So one of these people got called up and the VP who was giving out the certificates along with an awkward hug told her- in range of the mic – that she smelled good and asked what scent she was wearing. Her answer was out of mic range so I was sure to find her later to ask. It was Safari by Ralph Lauren and it was already out of production. She was already buying hers on eBay and of course I started doing that too.
Side note: Just to add more sadness to this still-open wound, you should know that I had a 4 ml mini of Safari in my hand tooled leather cosmetic bag when the TSA stole it out of my checked luggage. Perhaps I’ve mentioned that once or twice?
But now Ralph Lauren is on my mind. In the most out of context placement ever, there’s a disturbing RL couture commercial that plays at the beginning and end of every episode of Downtown Abbey that’s broadcast on PBS. Now, Downton Abbey is getting on my nerves all by itself, but seeing this ad twice each viewing is pushing me closer and closer to the edge and I am just about ready to jump. But looking at this cluster of 15 year olds decked out in themeless costumes of fur and satin that billows as they pose on stairs and courtyard, it looks for all the world as if Tim Burton was shooting one of his nightmares out in the sunshine.
Also, why am I looking at a commercial on PBS? Isn’t that what our tax dollars are for?
And now there’s the complaining about those Olympic outfits. Truth be told I really don’t mind them but I also didn’t mind when every singer and dancer on the Lawrence Welk show had costumes done in the same colors for an entire show. I’m kind of digging that tassel-y Vermont Hippie hat. And now with security concerns in Sochi and the State Department advising our athletes not to wear their Team USA stuff outside of the Olympic compound, frankly I think we owe a debt of gratitude to Ralph. Who better to create a look that that helps our people blend in with the Eurotrash?