(WSJ:Designers Mine American Heritage for Rags and Riches)
This may be more accurately described ads the peaking of trends that have been in play for several years now. Things like argyle, have been around for several years now. Lacoste's comeback and Pan Am bags are old news. In New York City bars and restaurants the "hunting lodge" has been in full effect for many years.
Ralph Lauren has always been the master when it comes to capturing and romanticizing American Heritage.
I actually have a theory about the aesthetic narrative of Ralph Lauren for women.
There is a cliche moment in many films, a morning after moment between couples, the woman is dressed in the button up shirt the man had on the night before. There are many ways to read this: symbolic submission, a symbol of their coming together as one. She on some level has crossed over INTO his world(From my essay: The Aesthetic Narrative of Ralph Lauren for Women)
The aesthetic narrative behind Ralph Lauren is that moment on a larger cultural scale. Ralph Lauren leverages iconography and symbolic imagery more effectively than any other fashion brand. It is a storybook narrative of a classic, eastern-seaboard America. A folklore or industrious and wealthy men who's patriarchy is so powerful that even the women's clothes seem fashioned from "his" world from things pulled from "his" drawers.
That ain't no woman, it's a man, baby!
A few years ago Canadian Club wiskey ran a heritage campaign that celebrated dad with the tagline "Damn right your dad drank it". It didn't do very well. I think they were on to something but missed the mark by centering the campaign on dad. Grandpa, more often than dad is the guy esteemed and revered as cool in a young mans eyes.
Related Previous Essays:
Life's Sweet Revenge. Part 1
Life's Sweet Revenge. Part 2: Decadence
Life's Sweet Revenge. Part 3: Pop Decadence, The Candy Macabre and Bourgeois Estate Sale