The Ralph Lauren Archive Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Murray Clark
·2-min read
Photo credit: Browns x Ralph Lauren
Photo credit: Browns x Ralph Lauren

Remember Ralph Lauren's Polo CP-93 capsule? It was very good, wasn't it? So good, in fact, that it sold out quicker than a vial of Moderna in the dark web's auction hall – just like its vaunted collab with Palace in 2018, and the Winter Stadium skiwear-turned-streetwear offshoot later that year.

Big clickthrough wasn't the only common thread either. All of these collections riffed on Ralph Lauren's archives – an impressive vault that spans over 54 years in the game of Hamptonian clothing – to prove that colour-blocked rugby shirts and Harrington jackets are just as much old prep as they are new prep. And they're still giving up new stuff. Your cold hard evidence: the latest collaborative capsule collection with British luxury retailer Browns.

Released today (today!!!), Browns x Polo Ralph Lauren is a unisex capsule that is, again, happy to repurpose the history of one of America's greatest success stories. But rather than just lean into the wardrobes of the second home in Sag Harbour, the collection goes slightly West too. The other side of Ralph Lauren is ranch-based; a menswearified version of a being that can only be described as a cowboy. Stetsons and everything.

That said, Browns has anglicised a phenomenon that is uniquely, inherently American – and it works. Tartans are at a surplus. Sherpa-collared denim jackets belong on horseback in Montana. A couple of gilets also nod to Lauren's knack for the après. But among that, the brand's signature 'Polo Bear' (a bit like Paddington, but presumably more confident and media-ready), wears a Union Jack to his front. There's also something else quite London about it, be that in the comfy casuals that provide a backbone to British streetwear, and the whole Nineties thing that this side of the Atlantic did much, much better (come on, it's true).

It's like a greatest hits of Mr Lauren's archive. The collab is something of a homecoming, too; Browns was the first UK stockist of Ralph Lauren back in 1980, and 41 years later, the partnership has come full circle. Of the capsule, Browns' buyer Lee Goldup said: "Reflecting on this legacy, the team at Browns wanted to partner with Polo Ralph Lauren to curate something one of a kind... the capsule has a familiarity that feels completely relevant in 2021."

And probably 2051 too.

Available now at brownsfashion.com

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