There is no more blatantly aspirational brand in the world than Ralph Lauren. When its founder, a Bronx-raised kid named Ralph Lipschitz changed his name to Lauren and started putting polo ponies on collared shirts half a century ago, nobody else knew Americans had a deep hidden desire to join the Polo club. Only Ralph knew, because he wanted to join it too. And join it he did. Now he’s allowing women in for the first time–keeping up with the times. Yup, believe it or not, the Polo brand (unlike the Ralph Lauren brand) has never been available to women before, according to Elle, until now.
And these days the Ralph Lauren brand looks as much toward heroin chic as pony purebread for inspiration. Ripped skinny jeans on very young women, a lot of midriff showing. The mallets the new Ralph Lauren woman might hold wouldn’t be to hit a ball from atop a horse–they’d be mallets with which to bang a drum at an East Village club at 2am, while vaping and smelling some food for a snack. (Not eating it, just smelling it.) She’s a member of the Polo club, of course–it’s just that she sees the irony of membership too, and she’s a little bored with the club anyway. I’ll teach you to pigeonhole me, she seems to say, this rogue survivor of boarding school: I’ll pair this cable knit sweater with ripped jeans!