So here’s the thing, I make no secret of my love for Ralph Lauren. I’ve been shopping the brand since I was five. Well, technically speaking I’ve been stealing the brand since I was five – from my mother’s closet. As I child I used to sit in the middle of her walk-in wardrobe and look up around me at the vibrant knits piled perfectly from floor to ceiling. I would pretend they were all paint strokes in an exotic painting. That’s when I was five.
Around the age of 17, I discovered that “exotic knit painting” was actually a style smorgasbord. My mother had built up a substantial collection of gorgeous sweaters, mostly Ralph Lauren, that came in every shape and pattern you could imagine. However, her main focus always seemed to be on Southwestern inspired styles. When she wasn’t looking, I’d pair the items together to create giant knit stories in my head – think Vogue circa 1980 featuring Claudia Schiffer or Cindy Crawford layered to the hilt in numerous cardigans and sweaters with big cascading scrunchie ponytails on their heads. My mother’s closet allowed me to live out a glossy fashion fantasy and I still, to this day, believe she has no idea how much her style influenced mine.
Over time, however, my mother was nice enough not to “notice” that some of her prized possessions were going missing. I’d sneak into her closet when I was home from school and nab a piece or two, thinking she wouldn’t notice. She always did, but we bonded over our mutual love for one man – Ralph Lauren – so I believe she let it go.
In 2012, I made an appearance in Elle Magazine and was asked to model some of my favorite pieces for the story. I chose a red and grey Navajo jacket from Ralph Lauren that was old as the hills – a true vintage piece – and one of my most prized possessions. It also happened to be my mother’s as well, only I forgot she didn’t know I had nabbed it years ago. So here I was, sitting on a stoop in my favourite piece not knowing I was about to reveal all. Oh, the downside of sharing your success!
Needless to say, the coat should have gone back to his proper home at that point, but it didn’t. To this day, the beautiful Ralph Lauren Wool Coat has a place of great importance in my wardrobe. “Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you have to do is call… and I’ll be there.” Oh yeah, that’s a James Taylor song designed for your best friends hanging in your closet. Does that make me sound sad or materialistic? No, my dear friend… it shows my absolute devotion to the cause. And just because I can, I’ll say it shows my “passion for fashion.” Rumour has it that if that little phrase comes out of your mouth anywhere near a Vogue interview, they chuck you out of the building.
Anyway, I’m getting off track here. Why mention all of this now? Well, I finally get to repay the borrowing favor and I also get to share the love for those of you that love this piece as much as I do. Last week I was visiting the Ralph Lauren store in Chelsea, checking out the holiday decorations, when I noticed a very familiar item hanging from a mannequin’s shoulders. Low and behold, I was starring down my favourite fashion item. Ralph Lauren have brought back an absolute classic for the season. Looks like they’ve reached into their archives and retrieved an item that was calling out for a rebirth.
To say I’m excited is the greatest understatement of the day. However, what has me spinning in circles is the idea that I get to buy this for my mother, fresh and perfect with all buttons attached (yes, sadly I’ve lost a few over the years). Above and beyond anything else, however, I wanted this to act as a sort of reminder of the cyclical nature of fashion. My closet is overflowing because I believe that all trends spin back around over time and some pieces are just too good to let go off, even after 30 years. And when a designer seems to agree with you on that by rereleasing a classic, well, it’s a damn fine feeling.