Friday, October 28, 2011

Ralph Lauren's Best Campaign

In 1988, Ralph Lauren ran my favorite of his campaigns in The New York Times Magazine. The clothes,  the models chosen, even many of the hair styles (more than the lifestyle depicted) were so right. Here are some images I scanned in from my tattered copy.











43 comments:

PA2Florida said...

Aaahhh, the good old days when men wore pants that didn't fit like spandex and come to the middle of their shins..

Anonymous said...

I do believe that's Nat Young, iconic Australian surfer (and still a handsome devil), in the role of the father. Lovely! I haven't seen this spread in a long time but I remember every detail.

Shawn S. said...

Those trousers in the second picture were part of last Fall's collection, or at least for men.

Grace said...

Wow, that ad campaign is complete perfection. Oh, how I miss the early days of Ralph Lauren.

Laurie of Lulu and Daisy said...

Those are some fabulous pictures!

Greenfield said...

For the adventurous lover of all things vintage, including vintage Ralph, don't rule out eBay. It can be like finding a gold doubloon on the beach! Late lamented brands a plus--picked up an astounding Willis & Geiger on there just last night . . . after reading your blog of course!

Bernie said...

Love those pleated pants! When will they bring them back?

CAB said...

I just swooned when I saw those adorable children in their comfortable, classic and slightly oversized clothing. Even RL is now making children's clothes in the body-conscious style that I'm trying to avoid for my 9 year old.

Anonymous said...

CAB,
The other day I was in Macy's with my 6 year old daughter. We went to the little girl section and she kept insisting that we were in her sisters' section (her sisters being 17 and 18) Even my 6 year old knows that the clothes they are selling in her size are not right.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with your assessment. The main thing I like about this campaign is that the people, while all very attractive, don't have that "model" look. The men's hair might be a tad more "coiffed" than is typical (and was typical for the time period), but they all look pretty normal. The women and children look like well-dressed women and children you'd encounter in real life. There's something more genuine-seeming about all of them ... maybe they appear less detached than models in similar campaigns today. Certainly the men seem more masculine.

Susan R said...

This is the Ralph era that I know and love. This is what I choose to remember. I'm just not feeling his new stuff, well....with the exception of the blackwatch plaid line.
I loved the classic, traditional clothing and Ivy League style.

Anonymous said...

These are very nice images, especially when we get the gaudy Hilfiger parody campaign today.
I am glad pleats have fallen to the wayside, as they're not flattering not to mention a pain to iron. I'm sure it's only a matter of time till they're back on everything once again.
I have to ask, is your library of this material as large as your sweater collection? Have a great weekend Mrs. Aldridge, and thanks for a good post.

Anonymous said...

Hello Muffy,
I can't believe this post of yours. I kept an issue of Architectural Digest from 1988 just because of the RL ad that went for 4-5 pages. My background was very "un-preppy" but my attitudes and inclinations have always been shaped and influenced towards a different direction and that ad seemed to showcase the best of the old money set - sophisticated, unflashy, unpretentious but confident. Today, I dress in a similar fashion to the model who was meant to represent the family patriach (minus moustache).RL has yet to top that particular campaign. Thank you for showing those great photos.
Best, Ian from Downunder

M said...

Your post reminds me that I have been influenced more by RL than anyone in terms of taste in home furnishings and apparel. If you hadn't said this shoot was from the 80s, how would one know? That is the beauty of timelessness. Thanks for these.

PS Since I didn't have the foresight to save these iconic spreads as you have, I did find his 100 lb. coffee-table book a treasure of the old images and enjoyed sharing it with my daughter.

Mom on the Run said...

The true test of a classic--you can't really pinpoint when this was without looking very, very closely. In the South, pleated pants on men and little girls with the chin length bob have never gone away.

HHH said...

Such beautiful people! One wonders where they are now, 23 years later. I hope you get some responses from the models.

j.mosby said...

My Fav!

Farrell and Lauren said...

I think one of the models may be Kristin Clotilde Darnell, who now owns a dress shop in Larchmont, NY:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/29peoplewe.html?oref=slogin

You can see her dresses here:
http://kristinclotilde.com/

j. antoine said...

Great post! When I compare and contrast these ads with current ones it amazes me how fashion so aptly reflects broader changes in societal thought and focus over the last 20 odd years.

Tom said...

Eat your heart out Tommy Hilfiger with your "The Hilfigers" campaign.

Ralph always says he creates "movies" where the clothes match the whole scene. Somehow, I always want to live in his scenes. I guess that is why he is a billionaire.

Anonymous said...

Divorced of the ad campaign it would still be some terrific photography. I love the composition of the one where the daughter is pulling on the mother's arm.

Anonymous said...

The ad campaign's similarity to photos of the Kennedy family through the years is not accidental, IMHO.

fjjRA said...

Thanks Muffy, I still have many of his stuff from those days.

Anonymous said...

Great clothes and nice-looking people. Note the clingy older daughter with the "I don't want to be here" pout. Definitely prep school material.

Anonymous said...

And, no unshaven, Euro-trashy men; no ripped / pre-distressed phoniness.

Anonymous said...

taste, quality, comfort and casual elegance.
never out of style.
even if i have to stay out of stores for years at a time.
i appreciate rl's love of all things "cowboy" but do miss his classic ads. nobody did it better.
thank you so much!
tammy j

lorrwill said...

Definitely a far cry from their current offerings.

I hope you still have power!

Muffy Aldrich said...

@lorrwill - You are so thoughtful to think of me. So far, so good. Unlike with Irene, it is a plus to be coastal.

Bebe said...

The house is on a beautiful estate in Northern California still owned by the family that built it. IMHO this was the most tasteful of the company's advertisements, and in great contrast to today's excessive campaigns.

Gerry said...

Just so lovely and classic, a beautiful ad. Makes me wistful for those days.

Anonymous said...

Timeless. If RL reissued the same clothes, it would sell like hotcakes. I would by it for myself and daughters. Bob

margaret said...

I still have my black watch plaid skirt and pants that I bought that year. They are so classic and I still wear them 13 years later...just love it...

Oxford Cloth Button Down said...

Close to perfect. These pictures look like real life unlike most ad campaigns/catalogs that I get today. They tend to look as if everyone is in costume.

Amory Blaine said...

That, indeed, is Aussie surfing pioneer Nat Young. Big-wave surfer Burton Dean "Buzzy" Kerbox also did Lauren adverts, back in the day.

Anonymous said...

The latest Brooks Brothers catalog is very much like this!

oldsarj said...

Damn, a half belt Norfolk jacket! Where are those today and whatever was Ralph thinking when he discontinued it? Classic, absolutely classic!

Antony said...

I think 1984-1993 or so was the peak of clothing. Do you have any more of these campaigns you could post? This was my favorite post you have made so far. I just noticed for the first time on the Ralph Lauren website a new "slim fit" shop and the model on the Ralph Lauren website had a lot of stubble which isn't like Ralph Lauren. Clothing is getting worse and worse.

plaid skirts for women said...

Love those pleated pants!

Anonymous said...

Well, Ralph Lauren may or may not be " Preppy ",but they no longer sell men's oxford cloth button down shirts in the classic cut.Just got back from a trip to the outlet mall,and found out that the OCBD has been discontinued. So, if you can find
any grab them !!

EJF

Anonymous said...

As a man I much prefer the tapered, slimmer cuts of 2013 and the shorter jackets. The last model in that series, Tim Easton, still models for Bruce Weber.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Ralph Lauren could "save" its reputation by separating its polo label from the rest of the brand and commit to its classic, timeless products?

Anonymous said...

The top male models of that time, many if not all who modeled for RL, got together for a reunion with Bruce Weber a few years back:

https://www.myfdb.com/editorials/84895-vogue-hommes-international-paris-editorial-the-favourites-fall-winter-2010

Anonymous said...

Brit John Rawlinson is the model in the photo 9th from the top. I think he still models. As mentioned, Tim Easton is the model in the last photo and is one of the most successful male models of all time. And yes, Australian surfer Nat Young is this advertisement as well.