I don't know if it is a sign of things to come but the RL store in Milano was absolutely wonderful when we were there in November. I seem to recall reading that RL was going to cut off the cheaper sublines and reclaim the brand. I hope so - I understand the financial reasons why designers, after making a name for themselves, go for the quick buck with cheap sublines but I hate it. At the RL store we saw a lot of purple label and a lot of gorgeous but pricey accessories. The store is the RL I think of - rich, warm wood, rich dark paisleys, old time equestrian motif... it was actually a real joy. Similarly the Brooks Brothers store there seemed to have much nicer stuff than the ones here. I'm just hoping Ralph will admit that the idea of Polo predates him several centuries and that he will stop suing polo clubs for using 'his' logo. It really is laughable when you are organizing a charity polo event for breast cancer research and have to run the artwork through an attorney. Personally, I'd like to see RL quit competing with Tommy for the urban youth market and go back to classic and well made.
Most of the "Flagship" RL stores (how can you have more than one flagship store? Plus in countries that only have one RL store, how can you have a "˜flagship' if that is the only store? Ah, never mind...) are decorated in the same manner, dark paneling, grand staircases, oil paintings of people in formalwear, and equestrian overtones which convey the "˜lifestyle' that RL is trying to sell. Yes, I appreciate the look of the RL stores as well, especially the jazz/ blues musical selections. RL has out Brooks Brother'ed Brooks Brothers. Regarding the lines, well in defense of their corporate strategy: the RL stores only carry RL Polo, RL Polo Collection, RLBL, and RLPL. Everything else is merely lower lines that are not "˜officially' RL merchandise, only licensed items to be carried in other stores for the sake of pure profit. Those lines contribute nothing to the corporate image, nay they contribute to the image of the people wearing the so-called "˜RL' merchandise of which they are trying to portray, and RL has seized on that notion to make money. How dare you suggest that RL did not invent Polo. Heresy. Heresy I say. Yeah, suing Polo clubs and Polo magazine for using the name is completely ridiculous, but what are you going to do? Regarding the urban youth market, is it not Hilfiger that encroached in RL's territory and not the other way around? It is regardless however, as RL seems to be moving more upscale, and the urban youth market can hardly purchase RLPL items, now can they? Jon.