Dear readers, by the time I was writing this blog, it was a black Friday (not the post-Thanksgiving shopping spree, but literally a 13th on a Friday), reflecting the gloomy and depressing mood around town (or even the world in general), I still have my ‘work’ to do, which one of the priority is to conduct my job search continuously with my best effort, while on the other, is to look for something that can even out the stress and uncertainty that brought along, stumbling into my usual beloved bookstore in the city center, which was surprisingly dead-quiet inside but perfectly understandable by the fear of the Coronavirus pandemic that almost nobody is willing to go out nor shopping, but in the midst of this almost terrifying tranquility, there’s one thing that literally sparks right in front of me, that is, the long-waited coffee table titled ‘Ralph Lauren – in his own fashion’ by Alan Flusser! (Published by Abrams) Despite making my best effort on saving every single penny I have to sustain my living during this in-between-jobs period, for some reason this book has such a irresistible charm and allure that I just have to give in, and decided to get a copy after having a mental tuck-of-war in my head for a moment.
I came across this incredible book through a Facebook post for quite some time ago, but never thought that it will be stocked in the bookstore here in Hong Kong that soon given the down spiral of the economy! And I’ve been thinking of getting a copy already given a couple of very good reasons, firstly – I do look up to both Alan and Ralph’s work, and admire the effort and passion that both have put behind, while one is a resourceful and stylish author and refined menswear connoisseur, who has been listed in the International Best-dressed list on Vanity Fair, also possessed profound and detailed knowledge about the sophisticated style of a gentlemen from head to toe, and for the latter one, is the reputed American fashion designer of our time, renowned by his Hollywood glamour, preppy, aristocratic and timelessly classic style fashion for both men and women.
Secondly – I have been reading a book written by Alan (titled ‘The Style and the man’) during my fashion retail career days in my mid 20s, and collected a copy of Ralph’s coffee table book (the giant one with a luxurious hardcover sleeve); when it comes to this latest copy written by Alan about Ralph, that both esteemed professionals appeared in one book, as a refined menswear and lifestyle fanatic like myself, it’s pretty hard to resist such stylish and intellectual allure, and thirdly – it also reminded me about my career days when working in Ralph Lauren about 2 decades ago, so it does bring back a lot of memories actually of how much I learn from this American fashion brand, and subsequently, the positive influence to my personal style, the art of living, and creativity in such profound way even after decades later.
With no introduction needed, I believe you all, my dear readers, are familiar with the Ralph Lauren style and his refined clothing already, in this new book written by Alan Flusser, not only it takes the readers back to the sumptuous and glamour of the fashion designer’s work, it also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the designer. To me in particular, that intrigues me more, is the journey about how the designer gets him to what he is today, starts from his youth from scratch and work his way up, believing in own his vision, aesthetic and dream about pursuing excellence and impeccable style about men (and women), it’s fascinating to read on how tasteful and witty this gifted mens’ style writer interpreted the story about this esteemed fashion designer’s life, it’s detailed and vivid like watching a fashion legend’s documentary (in fact I just watched one recently, Halston, which is also a fascinated one too!) to see how he pushed his envelope, to make his creation comes to live despite the disapproval of someone around him, but trusting his gut feel to realize it with some luck and good connection that believes in him (which in reality it must be very tough and hard to swallow), of course, one needs to put his effort and work wholeheartedly before him first, which is the reason why it truly moves (and soothes) me a lot to see behind the glamour and stylish curtain, it requires an endless and enormous effort, courage and resilience, to keep it going even one is by himself alone to do the work; while we all enjoy and yearning for an impeccably tailored charcoal suit in super 180s fine wool, or a luxurious Pima cotton polo shirt for our weekend casual days, to me, the work, the integrity and the spirit behind is also important, and should be equally meaningful to the product itself that demonstrated the persistence and constant commitment about sophisticated style, a timeless, anti-fashion-trend style that stands the test of time, a little bit of reminiscent to the old world classic but being modernized in a fresher tone and silhouette, and, like a ripple effect, it also influences to one’s way of living, looking at things around us differently, dress like a high society socialite or Hollywood star, and replicates their demeanor, the sophisticated flair, and manners that echoes the refined attire we are wearing.
I do like one part that wrote about the designer when he was young and worked for a glove company, while everyone was only earning in an average wages and dressed in a regular attire, the young Ralph dressed like in a million-dollar look which it instantly puts a smile on my face! And I believe that ‘dress for success’ is certainly a positive trait, not just because ‘fake it until you make it’, but walk the talk and work hard towards one’s dream, by dressing like the one you aspire to, perhaps, that’s one of the reason that destiny brought me to this prestigious American fashion brand in the past, with no regrets, it nurtures me to be who I am today, and fast forward to present day, reading this book now simply offered a special kind of motivation and encouragement to me, in particular during this critical and depressing period of time, it’s literally soothing and therapeutic in a very stylish way of course, telling me not to give up and keep pursuing my passion about ultimate refined menswear and lifestyle, keep writing this blog and finding some sophisticated topics, like the unstoppable passion and drive of the legendary fashion designer and remarkable writer themselves, to keep their passion sparks.
My chapeau to both Alan and Ralph, thanks for both of your remarkable work and dedication to refined menswear and sophisticated, timeless style!