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The new women's Polo Ralph Lauren store opens tomorrow, and you're not meant to shop at it. The four story mansion, complete with high-end jewelry, custom women's suiting and the brand's first foray into lingerie is instantly the company's largest and most decadent women's store, but unless you're a New Yorker with money or a tourist with even more money, the lady-lander mansion is just meant to make you crave Ralph Lauren's wares at places like Macy's and Lord & Taylor even more.
So, what gives? Lauren himself claims that the presence of independent stores help to increase sales at department stores carrying product with "attainable price points". Or, in other words, selling khakis and polos to us poors is a direct result of being influenced by the fancy advertising and media hooplah surrounding new stores. We buy Polo khakis because people with more money buy ballroom gowns, or so they think.
Commercial real estate firm PBS and Polo Ralph Lauren have also flat out said that this store is meant to entice tourists, and at the newly opened men's mansion across the street, the Times noticed "hardly an American accent to be found among the shoppers [carrying] New York City guidebooks." Good thing, then, that Mayor Bloomberg will be awarding Lauren a Key to the City—who is the first designer to receive the honor—at the grand opening of the new store this week.
Lauren's belief that "tourists come [to big cities] wanting to buy souvenirs" definitely played a part in the shop's structure, as they were mindful of gift-giving when laying out its design. The ground floor of the 72nd and Madison shop is full of accessories, handbags and jewelry, and as you venture further upstairs to the second floor's runway-based clothing and third floor's sportswear, there's less worthy of stuffing into luggage for the ten hour flight home.
If you're just curious to peek around, make sure to go directly to the fourth floor. Arranged as a faux apartment complete with a living room, place settings and home goods, there also appear to be "bowls of macaroons dotting the space." Looks like we'll be putting on our favorite heels, donning our elementary school French accents and eating as many macaroons as possible before getting glared at and scurrying out with a mouthful of crumbs.
· At Polo Store, the Feel of a Mansion to Bolster a Brand [NY Times]
· Ralph Lauren to get Key to the City [NY Post]
· All Ralph Lauren Coverage [Racked NY]