The mighty Sofarok put me onto the Madoff Productions (not that Madoff — it’s an NYC-based film and production company for several luxury brands) YouTube channel. In addition to pieces like this 1997 Polo Sport TV commercial with Tyson Beckford, they’ve upped some lesser-spotted edits like the stirring 90-second video that preceded Ralph Lauren receiving his American Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and — proving that they’re not loyal to a single American designer — a really strange promo piece from the mid 1990s with a giant jean wearing Dave Chappelle shoe shopping with Tommy Hilfiger. Thank you internet and thank you Charlie for the heads-up.
Seeing as Ralph Lauren’s empire is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, we’re promised at least four books about the brand (including Ralph’s autobiography in 2018) on the horizon. Rizzoli has got a couple planned, including the Ralph Lauren: 50 Years of Fashion retrospective in association with WWD and a third version of the 2007 monograph, which will be expanded with more imagery and coverage of the last ten years. It’s always vaguely disheartening to see slackers getting the opportunity to get the book in a better form as penance to us keen types for buying the book earlier (the slightly bolstered paperback reprint of the Osti book gave me similarly glum feelings), but it makes sense that another big birthday justifies the remix. Now I want to see the clothing step up to bring some statement greatness that supersedes that slew of streetwear homages of those glory days, plus a decent length documentary on the company’s growth over those five decades. Expect these around September/October (when an interesting looking Fiorruci retrospective is set to drop too).
Almost a year after Tommy Hilfiger’s memoir American Dreamer comes out, it would seem that we’re getting a Ralph Lauren autobiography. Releasing next September via Simon & Schuster to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary, my earlier speculation about whether the Alan Flusser Lauren book that drops the same month was going to be an autobiography was wrong. Just as 2016 spawned two Lo-Life books, 2017 is going to be all about publications regarding the man himself. Hopefully, just as Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog offered personal insight that complimented the unauthorised Swoosh perfectly, hopefully this one will be as interesting as the almost authorised Genuine Article. In the meantime, YouTube user Tenaciously Procrastinate’s upload of Ralph’s 1993 Charlie Rose appearance is worth watching.
Taken from the Lo Life History
As I wait for Thirstin Howl the 3rd and Tom Gould’s Bury Me With the Lo On book I figured I’d look around for some other Polo-related gems online and the Lo Life Brand’s History section is incredible. The Lo Life clothing brand gives me mixed feelings in that I wonder if the Lo Lifers of old would have clowned any contemporaries for wearing a tribute brand the same way that Beverly Hills Polo Club gear would have gotten you crucified, but if anybody is going to make money from homaging that iconography, it may as well be Thirstin and friends, seeing as they’re key to popularising Lauren’s output in a streetwear context. Plus, I doubt that the crew saw a cent from the product that they helped sell to a local and global audience that the company itself couldn’t reach. Having kept their clippings throughout the years, the existence of a Lo Life cap back in the early 1990s as part of a student design competition is an interesting addition to their history, plus all those Source articles are in the mix too. I’d never seen the newspaper stories from 1992 back when Lo Lifes were being discussed with emphasis on gang status rather than the contents of their wardrobes, but they’re up on the site too. Go check it out HERE.
If you’re willing to make the effort (and it’s well worth it), I only just noticed that some of the French documentary, Larry Clark, Great American Rebel is online in pieces. This one-hour 2003 film features plenty of good insight into Clark’s work and it’s the source of the popular making of Kids video on YouTube. Continue reading AMERICAN REBEL
After seeing a baffling amount of YouTube promos for it over the last year and a bit, I just watched DJ Scripz’s factually titled The Haitian Polo Documentary, which is about young Haitian kids in Brooklyn becoming preoccupied with Ralph Lauren’s iconic output. We’ve moved on a lot from the days when I got hyped about a page or so in the Source each month at the turn of the decade to the point where it’s hard to find much on the Lo-Life crew and other boosting squads that hasn’t been told before, over and over again. Continue reading LIFE OR DEATH APPAREL
I always wondered what the mood was like internally between mega brands during the early 1990s. For years I wondered whether Tommy and Ralph hated each other and whether Calvin and Perry would join the ruck if they were left alone in a room. Continue reading RUGBY BEEF