Mon-Wed, 10am-7pm; Thu, 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-6pm; Sun, noon-6pm
6 at 68th St.-Hunter College
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Housed in the Rhinelander Mansion, one of the last, grand turn-of-the-century homes in New York City, Ralph Lauren’s Madison Avenue flagship is the prototype for all the other Lauren boutiques. Dark mahogany, sumptuous rugs, exquisite artwork, cashmere upholstery, and camel hair draperies help evoke an aristocrat’s private estate, instead of just one store in the designer’s ever-burgeoning retail empire. While the men’s selection focuses on preppy tweed blazers, the ever-popular polo shirt, plaid pants, elegant suiting, and dapper shoes, Lauren also knows a thing or two about making a woman feel like a goddess. Glamorous gowns, dresses, and luxurious separates fill most of the racks here; for styles that blend in a bit more utility and accessibility, head downtown to the Soho or West Village locations. The downtown stores focus on brightly colored sweater sets, paisley ties, golf gear, and RLX, Lauren’s solutions for the adventurous but stylish man, including cowboy boots and boating sneakers. Women can step out in delicate silver suede heels or a super soft calf-leather driving shoe. The stores also offer swimwear, a children’s collection, leather goods, jewelry, and linens; not bad for a Bronx–born boychick who traded Lifschitz for Lauren and Mosholu Parkway for Madison Avenue.Sales
Fall/winter and spring/summer sales are usually held twice a year.
Spring 2005 featured an array of sophisticated suiting perfect for brides who want to wear the traditional color, but in a nontraditional style. Expect to see flowy white pantsuits and silky linen knee-length skirt suits that you can wear long after you've tied the knot.Women's Clothing
You can count on the purveyor of prep-school fashion for the perfect blazer—and pretty much anything plaid or tweed. But Ralph Lauren never fails to serve up some surprises each season, as well, like a camel hair full skirt, a wool-cashmere bouclé jacket, a washed-cashmere herringbone double-breasted jacket. Into vests? Get a puffy one at a pretty price, or the goatskin, which costs as much as a PowerBook. Preppies will delight in the wall of wide-wale corduroys in a rainbow of colors (each with a contrasting ribbon belt).Men's Clothing
Polo, the Mansion’s tougher little brother, supplies prepsters with cabled sweaters, cardigans, crewnecks, pleated and flat-front trousers, cashmere sweatpants, and, of course, the iconic polo shirts. For elegant, luxurious dress clothes, check out the Purple Label—but beware: Leather coats start at $3,200. There's activewear from RLX, too. The merchandising mix is the same in the West Village men's store: well-edited vintage pieces (messenger-style leather bags, cowboy boots, and belts) alongside choices from all Ralph labels, including RLX. There are cashmere rugby shirts for the preppy set, exquisite suits and shoes for power brokers, and fringed suede jackets and snap-front shirts for urban cowboys.Cuff Links
You know what you're getting at Polo Ralph Lauren—the American-aristocrat aesthetic—and the link selection doesn't disappoint. Silk knots and enameled sterling-silver Purple Label links are available. If that's not luxe enough, check out the twenties cuff links and the monogram options.Men's Formalwear
Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label tuxedo comes in superluxurious wool and silk ($5,295), and the slim-cut Black Label tuxedo starts at $2,150. Any of three Polo tuxedo styles are comparative bargains, at $1,495.