Ren's RantsDisclaimer: In this rant I expose the outrage towards, and then try to explain, Ralph Lauren's "Ready To Wear Shimmer And Sand" Spring 2009 Collection. By no means is this an attack towards the people that I've known and grown to love and respect in the past decade, or openly trashing "". Fact is, I'm surprised at the amount of angst over what Mr. Lauren presented. Isn't this what we asked for all this time?


"IndyGear For Women" goes 'Couture'  - Thanks To Ralph Lauren ?

September 19th, 2008 - By Eric 'Renderking' Fisk

Ren's RantsThere's the old adage "Be careful what you ask for, you might actually get it." And to a degree, that's exactly true of Ralph Lauren's Spring 2009 Collection. I've always wanted to see the style and fashion of the 1930's and 1940's updated for this decade of the 21st Century. Darn it! Bring back fedoras! Bring back safari jackets, aviation jumpers and trench coats. What ever made the clothes and the accessories of that era so unique, timeless and just incredible to look at and wear... apply that to what we wear today. And if you can swing it, can you please make it affordable?

During this year's New York Fashion Show, Ralph Lauren introduced his "Ready To Wear" line and there were some mixed reactions. Check out the reviews from other publications... or skip ahead to my thoughts.



The Telegraph, The United Kingdom: "Ralph Lauren at New York Fashion Week," Last Updated: 12:01am BST 12/09/2008

Ralph Lauren took inspiration from fictional film star Indiana Jones at New York Fashion Week for his latest spring/summer collection

The American designer, Ralph Lauren, took Harrison Ford’s heroic, screen alter-ego as the inspiration for his spring/summer 2009 collection.

His models strode out, ready to conquer every obstacle from evil Nazi agents to tarantulas, wearing khaki jodhpurs and shirts, with battered ‘Akubra’ hats and leather water bottles dangling around their hips.

The ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ concept gave Lauren, who loves to mix a ready-made fantasy theme with ready-to-wear clothes, the perfect opportunity to unleash well-made separates for survival in the urban jungle, in gabardine, cotton and silk, inspired as much by safari-style as Indiana Jones’s own wardrobe...




The Courant:

NEW YORK - What would clothing look like if Indiana Jones, in his quest for golden treasures, had stumbled into the richest, chicest stall in a particularly fashionable souk? It might look something like the collection Ralph Lauren sent out on the final day of Fashion Week. Safari jackets, linen pants and gauze dresses paired with fedoras - all of Indy-style ilk - along with harem pants in silk and crepe de chine contributed to a sporty and highly theatrical collection for spring 2009.

A variety of gabardine pants, cotton poplin jackets and silk shirts looked good for day. But Lauren poured on the romance for his Arabian nights. His best looks were simple, sleek gowns of metallic beads and a particularly gorgeous goddess dress of antique gold lame that looked like a lean column of liquid. Another dress of bronze silk and linen gauze took shape courtesy of intricate twists and turns of tied ribbons.

Lauren's models also wore head wraps of twisted scarves that furthered the theme of eastern dessert beauty. Taupe, tan, olive, ivory and lots of gold (antique gold leather jackets, gold beaded pants, gold metallic lace dresses) were the hues of Lauren's palette for spring. It all looked exotic but with the classic lines and discipline that Lauren brings to his quintessentially American wardrobe.

Once again Lauren is taking his customers on a beautiful journey. No Indy whip in hand, only the sure vision of a man whose treasures are fashioned from threads of gold.




The New York Post

Ralph Lauren created an adventurer look. September 12, 2008 —

Carried away by a Moroccan vibe, Ralph Lauren worked, and reworked, the look of an adventurer. Our traveler starts off dressed for actual trekking in utilitarian broadcloth shorts, shirts and linen jackets. Later in the collection, there were more formal pieces - a bias-cut satin dress, satin pants and an incredibly interesting strapless dress made of the non-formal fabric of gauze.

These pieces evoked "The English Patient," as they were styled with outerwear pieces. Of course, there were beautiful evening pieces, but that's not what this collection was all about.

The kicker: Everything was in hues of gold, bronze, cream and sand. Not exactly what you want to wear trekking - unless you're living in Ralph Lauren's romantic world (and don't we want to?)




MSN: "Fashion Week's Weirdest Looks," By Lisa Marsh

There's fresh, and then there's freaky. With the good comes the bad in everything, including Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. There's a thin line between inspired and incomprehensible, and the following designers found a way to step over it.

Trying to find one's inspiration

Ralph Lauren's collection for spring was set in some place that required many of the models to wear turbans. Unfortunately, there was not a consensus on where this geographic area was. Some said Morocco, some said Egypt, some India. Others even thought it was "Indiana Jones"–inspired. Regardless, these headdresses were ridiculous, particularly the gold studded ones.





Mitchell Hallock: "Indiana Jones - Fashion Trendsetter?" 12/09/08, 6:45pm EST [Website With-held]

He's inspired would be adventurers for almost thirty years and now Indiana Jones heads into new territory... fashion! That's right Indyfans, the man with the hat and the rest of the clothes was the inspiration for fashion designing legend, Ralph Lauren, as Fashion Week started the boulder rolling with a bang as Indy clad models strode down the catwalk.

Perhaps Louis Vuitton can release a whole new line of purses that include a clasp to hold bullwhips! I mean if you are going to look the part, you have to accessorize. I wonder if they will have some Sallah wear at the "Big & Tall" Men's Clothing Stores. My new favorite shop after consuming all those Indy snacks and Burger King Kid's Meals this past summer!




My Thoughts...

The pictures that I've posted up above are only what I consider to be "the best" and the most relevant to The Fedora Chronicles. I left out the pieces of the collection that included turban headwear. I mean, really BAD turban headwear.

The entire collection (sans the really bad turbans) is a salute not only to "Indiana Jones," but to real world clothes the women of The Golden Era wore, from aviator Amelia Earhart to actresses like Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn. One of these outfits look exactly like one worn by Kathleen Turner in her salute to either Film Noir or the Action Serials of our favorite historical period ("Body Heat" or "Romancing The Stone" - Take your pick.) There's also a touch of Ingrid Bergman's costume that she wore when she played Ilsa Lund in "Casablanca."

That's the magic of this collection, that it's obviously inspired by classic movies (and perhaps "Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull") and is a serious effort to bring that style back, even if for just a season... Much of this collection reminds me of when "Banana Republic" was exclusively 'vintage reproductions' and had that safari look down cold and made their catalogs from the late 1980's serious collectors items for our kind. 


So, Why All The Guff?

This is the style of wear that a lot of us here on The Fedora Chronicles (and some "Indy Fan Sites") have been waiting for, even on some  subconscious level. It is, isn't it? Haven't we all wanted to see the style of clothes that we became enamored with get an update? What is the exact phrase people like me have used over and over again for at least the past 10 years since most of the older groups began? "Bringing (this style) into the 21st Century."

This is it, this is what many people (especially me) think about between the time we roll out of bed, our feet hit the floor, make coffee and get dressed: how much of what I wear that the rest of the world calls "IndyGear" can I get away with today? More then half of my closet is devoted to the "1930's and 1940's Safari Style" - all from various designers and vendors, some L.L. Bean, some Land's End, some Cabela's and some single pieces from other labels. Wouldn't it be great if a "Ralph Lauren" took the same creative energy that went into the pair of cargo pants that I wore while writing this rant and do a whole line? Now that he has done so for the dames, I'm crossing my fingers that he'll do more for men like me, too. I want more "30's Safari" style, exactly the way it was back then...

Or, how about "bringing that style into the 21st Century?" ...Again those exact words incorporated into another site's slogan. I can't tell you how many threads on the various forums I've participated in where we speculated what that particular style would look like if a major label would do just that. And now, here it is! "Ready To Wear" for 2009 by Ralph Lauren. A dream of mine come true?

Imagine my surprise when I find threads about Ralph Lauren's "Ready To Wear" line have basically lambasted the collection. There's a sense of outrage and horror by some people that this line isn't "perfect." There were outcries about this line being outrageous, and I'm trying to figure out why.

These are my three guesses...


It's Impractical?

Not so obvious is the material that some of the pieces in this collection are made from are totally impractical. Can you imagine being side-by-side with Brandon Fraser's "Rick O'Connell" fighting a mummy's evil un-dead horde wearing a pair of pants made from Gold Lamé? Could you imagine Karen Allen next to Harrison Ford running and trying to duck a shower of shrapnel from an exploding Nazi Air Craft, while wearing a jacket made of the same metallic material... in the African desert? OK, maybe if they were coming from a fund-raising event for the museum...

With the exception of use of silk, this collection is more suitable for Gwyneth Paltrow's "Polly Perkins" from "Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow." Better yet, this is exactly what a costume designer would adorn Jennifer Connelly in another movie like "The Rocketeer" and "Mulholland Falls."

It's Not "Exactly" Like "IndyGear"

I'm going to speculate that a lot of the reasons why the posters on the "Indy Fan Sites" aren't too particularly fond of this line is because it's not exactly just like the costume worn by Harrison Ford. It's not "exactly," it's more of a homage.

I'm thinking that what a lot of our friends (meaning you, if you're one of them) would like to see is someone like Ralph Lauren take the costume first created by Deborah Nadoolman back in 1979/1980 and make it an exact duplicate with the exception of his label hidden from view. What would be the point of that? As I already stated, Ralph Lauren is paying homage to the era and perhaps the "Indiana Jones" costume. But he did so with his own take on the look.

I can't even be convinced he was trying to do "IndyGear for women" specifically...

I Have To Agree With This... The Models Are Too Sickly...

Maybe the major - if not only - reason why this collection of clothes doesn't work for many of us is how these clothes look on the actual models. Some of those women look, and I hate to say it... "Anorexic." I'm not ashamed to admit this, but if I you're a woman and I can count ribs then you're obviously too thin.

Women who are too thin are not attractive to me, and I highly doubt that they're very attractive to most other men, as well. A woman who is simple skin and bone with hardly any substance is unnatural, unhealthy and is just this side of being a zombie. Nothing says poverty and despair like being underfed with sunken eyes and pail skin. Yet designers and fashion show coordinators  still insist on putting girls on the runway way that look more boyish that boarder on androgynous.

A "woman" should look like a woman - and that means curves. Put women on the runway that look more like the women we love and desire, THAT will make this line (and all others) more appealing.




AS my wife said, it's an assumption that Ralph Lauren was trying to pay homage to "Indiana Jones" (meaning his style,) and if that's what he was really trying to do, then these people -the fans - should be flattered and honored.

If there was any hope of seeing the style of the Golden Era return, this is is. This is the first gleam of it, something a lot of us have wanted for a while. But the notion that some of the people who should be embracing this look (the so-called "hard-core IndyFans") are rejecting this line doesn't bode well for the future. Why would any other label produce something similar to this if those who should want it the most... doesn't? If those people (meaning some of us, too) aren't running out and buying up as much of this as we can or not sending e-mails to Ralph Lauren's headquarters asking when and where this stuff is available, then I highly doubt this style will come back again in the near future.

What I would like to ask is this, send e-mails and other messages to Mr. Lauren's company and ask questions, even the obvious ones that WE already know the answers to like who made those fedoras that some of the models wore. But also ask some questions like where can we purchases some of those outfits? How can we add some of those pieces to our wives or girlfriends collections? Ask them questions I haven't even thought of yet... and be sure to repost the answer they send you here... check out Macy's and Nordstrom's and ask them if they're going to carry this line.

Also ask: Where's the Men's version of this "Ready To Wear" line?

Send messages to the other labels and request that they produce a line similar to this, and even send them pictures of what you're already wearing to show them you're legitimate. Request that this retro-style be translated into today's fashion taking into account our lifestyles and modern materials.

The groups many of us belonged to for a while have proven that there's a real market for this look. I would like to believe that with just a little more push we can make it "mainstream" again and make it easier for all of us to maintain that "Vintage Vibe." If we can do that for clothes, then music and motion pictures can't be that far behind. - Collection: Spring 2009: Runway Highlights.

IndyGear's Club Obi-Wan: "Well, We Were Afraid This Was Gonna Happen....

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