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(Courtesy: Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office)

Beaufort, SC (WSAV) The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office has arrested four people accused of stealing from Hilton Head’s Tanger Outlet.

Search continues for suspect in Tanger Outlet armed robberyDeputies were called out around 6:00pm Tuesday after multiple stores were targeted. Deputies found the suspects along with numerous items stuffed in a Toyota Camry.

The merchandise came from Adidas, Nike, Famous Footwear, Osh Kosh, Children’s Place, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, PacSun, Tommy Hilfiger, Old Navy and TJ Maxx.

Deputies say they recovered over $4,000 total in merchandise stolen including $2,600 from Polo Ralph Lauren alone.

Of the eleven merchants affected, only the management of Polo Ralph Lauren wished to pursue charges against the four subjects.

28 year old Etweice Thomas, 17 year old Tariq Williams, 18 year old Jakevious Gibbons all of Wadly, Georgia and 26 year old Laquisha Williams (owner of the red Toyota Camry) of Hephizabh, Georgia were arrested for Shoplifting (value greater than $2,000) and transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center.
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The lines, the strollers, the lines of strollers, children crying, adults crying, the heat, the cold awful. Theme parks are great for those of us under the age of 9, but the rest of us need something more! I have lived in this Tourist Mecca for years now, and am offering some great alternatives to a day overpaying for funnel cake and turkey on a stick.

The Everglades of Florida are truly remarkable and filled with life around every corner. An air boat ride is the perfect (and only way, really) to see this amazing landscape. You strap on your glasses and headsets and be off in a heartbeat, travelling 30 mph across water, vegetation, and soil. Most companies have very tour guides who can spot an alligator a mile a way. If possible, make sure they have a two part name, like Billy Bob, or start their name with Uncle (ie. Uncle Bubba).

In addition to the gators, you are almost sure to see a variety of birds and in some cases, horses and cows! Many of these air boat tours take place in areas that are also used as a sanctuary for cattle and retired horses.

Perhaps the best part of the air boat ride is the fact that you are literally in the middle of nowhere. You see no buildings, no power lines, no roads, and no other people besides you and your group. It is the definition of exploration.

Bring your sunscreen, your camera, and get ready to see the original Florida landscape.

2. They are not paying me to say this. But if the fine people at The Ravenous Pig are reading this, I would take a complimentary appetizer. Message me!

I am a dinning out addict and my experiences at The Ravenous Pig have been nothing but exceptional. Located in Winter Park (just south/southeast of Orlando), this humbly elegant gastropub offers a full bar and some of the best shrimp and grits you ever find.

gastropub is an idea fresh from across the pond. Start with a traditional pub experience, add a passionate culinary team and pair with an elevated dining experience you get fare that is as delicious as it is unique. However, if the kids can stay at the hotel, it is the perfect spot to reconnect and enjoy greater Orlando premium dinning destination.

3. Take a dip at Wekiwa Springs Wekiwa Springs Information

Credit: Google Images

You won find this in your Orlando brochure. That because the residents of Orlando keep this one for themselves. If you are over the crowds and the lines, then this is the place to cool off, get some sun, and enjoy a lavish natural spring.

Wekiwa Springs offers crystal clear waters perfect for all sorts of water activities! A nice stream, large enough to allow three or four people to float on some rafts and take in the sites, feeds the main watering hole of the spring. There you can put on your snorkeling gear and check out the variety of fish, turtles, and other wildlife that call this oasis home. The aquatic terrain varies from vegetation, rock and sand. There are many overhanging trees providing shade to all animal residents. Although rare, alligator attacks can and have happened. Be aware! It is not advisable to bring any pets with you.

Plenty of parking is available but it is paid parking. Bring plenty of cash, snacks, and drinks. There are very little food and drink options available so you will want to pack a good size cooler. If you are leaving from the central Orlando area, it is a bit of a drive just under an hour.

4. 4. Lunch and shopping in Winter Park!

Credit: Google ImagesJust a few miles away from The Ravenous Pig, Winter Park offers some great boutique shopping and quaint dinning.

The main street to this delightful getaway is Park Avenue. Parking is relatively easy to find and won cost you a thing. There are a number of clothing and retail stores with charming cafes sprinkled in between.

Most weekends will include some sort of outdoor entertainment; a farmers market, live music, or festival. This is perfect for all ages. There is truly something for everyone.

Whether you are looking for a great glass of wine and some one of a kind handbags or a caffeine rush and gifts for the family back home, Park Avenue in Winter Park has it all.

Speaking of shopping, Orland is home to some heavy duty outlet malls. It would almost be impossible to see it all on an average vacation stay, but if you have a few hours to kill in between pool time and dinner theater, they are a must.

Orlando Premium Outlets is home to over 150 stores including brands like; Ann Taylor, Armani, Barneys New York, Burberry, Coach, Diesel, Elizabeth Arden, Fendi, Gap Outlet, Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Marni, Nautica, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch.

If you are in town during one of the busy seasons (Summer, Winter break, or Spring break) parking will be hard to find. You also should be ready to compete with other enthusiastic shoppers. This is the only time some of these people will have access to these brands, so they are serious about their shopping.

For some of you thriftier people out there, this is a good time to some of that money back from your vacation. Stock up on Christmas gifts, or redo your wardrobe. There are so many stores and products out there, there is almost always a good deal.
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Mr Waterfield added: “The region does not adequately cater for top international brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Prada, Lacoste, Hugo Boss, Dior, Calvin Klein and Armani.

“We aim to bring global brands like these to around 90 purpose built outlet shops along with restaurants and cafes to create a superb retail destination.

“We are looking forward to discussing our plans locally and hope that as many people as possible will visit our public exhibition or our dedicated website.

“We would like to hear as much feedback as possible before finalising our plans.”

Jeff Downes, director at architects Corstorphine and Wright,
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which have been commissioned to design the outlet village, said: “Our objective is to create a very high quality shopping environment which reflects the local architecture of the area as well as including hard and soft landscaping which will provide a mature and pleasant setting from the outset.”

Councillor John Blackie, leader of Richmondshire District Council, said the scheme would complement the shopping complex being built at Catterick Garrison and would help to stop people spending their money out of the district.

He added: “I absolutely welcome the interest being shown by these fantastic retail developers in offering this shopping experience.

“They have centred on a site that hasn’t attracted other attention in the five years it has been marketed it couldn’t be better just as the A1(M) is being widened to three lanes.”

Public exhibitions on the scheme will be held at Richmond Town Hall on Thursday, July 10 between 2pm and 8pm; at Middleton Tyas Memorial Hall on Thursday, July 11 between 2pm and 8pm and at the Holiday Inn at Scotch Corner on Saturday, July 15 between 9am and 1pm.
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For weeks after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, the luxury Fifth Avenue retailers that surround his New York City home complained about the hit their businesses were taking amid tight security and constant protests. But now that President Trump lives more than 200 miles away from Trump Tower in the White House, things have changed: He might actually be good for business.

As security has lessened since Trump decamped his iconic Manhattan skyscraper for Washington, business for some retailers on the street known for high end shopping has started to rebound, according to Tom Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Business District. How much it has recovered will remain unclear until retailers report first quarter earnings which are expected in the coming weeks. (And most retailers don release earnings for individual stores.) But Cusick and others credit increased foot traffic from tourists looking to catch a glimpse of where the future President lived and where his wife and youngest child still live for boosting business on the blocks surrounding Trump Tower.

Joseph Sitt, chief executive of Thor Equities, which owns real estate worldwide including many Fifth Avenue shops, said the effect has been especially pronounced for retailers just a bit further south of Trump Tower, past the tightest security but still close enough to have tremendous pick up in foot traffic. [Trump Tower] has effectively done is move the center of gravity on Fifth Avenue, Sitt said.

It was only a few months ago that things looked much bleaker for a retail stretch that plays host to stores like Tiffany Co., Gucci and Bulgari. Overnight after Election Day, barricades and trucks full of sand transformed the block between 56th and 57th Streets on Fifth Avenue to protect the President elect, who lived in Trump Tower with his wife, now First Lady Melania Trump, and youngest son, Barron. Retailers surrounding Trump Tower suffered as a result, losing a total of $40 million in the final three months of the year, according Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Business District.

were pretty normal on the avenue, then November 8 happened, Cusick said.

As Trump hosted dignitaries ranging from his future Cabinet picks to Kanye West during his transition, security dominated those blocks of Fifth Avenue. It cost the Big Apple $24 million to provide this extra security at Trump Tower between the election and inauguration, according to the New York City Police Department. That amounts to $308,000 per day. Even now, the city is still shelling out up to $145,
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000 a day to pay for a security detail albeit a smaller one to protect Trump Tower while Melania and Barron are still there.

Cusick estimate of the loss for retailers in the fourth quarter was a conservative one, he said. Tiffany Co. iconic flagship store located in the same complex as Trump Tower dropped 7% in sales during the last three months of the year and saw a 14% decline in holiday sales, in part due post election traffic disruptions, the company said in a statement.

But with less security, Trump Tower has become a popular tourist destination. Gawkers gather outside the tall tower, taking selfies with the block Tower letters across the golden front of the building or posing with two heavily armed police officers outside the building entrance. On a recent Thursday afternoon, some visitors to the tower wore America Great Again hats, and one told woman told her friends, First Lady lives there.

Many seemed undeterred by the beefed up security and road blocks that made it more difficult to get to their shopping destinations and some, like Dawn Camarada, of Long Island, didn think about it at all.

I got here and I visually saw it, I forgot, said Camarada, who was shopping with her daughter at Gucci. understand why they have it. It makes sense. They need it. You can never have enough security.

Fifth Avenue business boosters aren celebrating yet, saying it too early to say if the stores most hit by the heightened security will make a full recovery. By April 29, Ralph Lauren will close its Polo Ralph Lauren store less than a block south of Trump Tower. The retailer did not disclose the store sales for the fourth quarter, but the company cited reasons for its closure. (The shuttering perhaps reflects a larger trend of brick and mortar retailers suffering around the country as a result of the rise of e commerce.)

Representatives from Tiffany Co., Gucci, Bulgari and Henri Bendel did not respond to requests for comment.

[Trump Tower] helps tremendously, and then in this small section, it hurts tremendously, said Sitt, referring to businesses the immediately next to the President former home that have been more harmed than helped.

the base of his brand, it his marquee, Sitt said. where he lives. He created it into one of the most visited tourist destinations in New York City.

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CLEVELAND, 0hio A Cleveland man was indicted this week on charges of stealing more than $7,000 worth of Polo Ralph Lauren merchandise from area Macy’s department stores.

Court records show that police were called to the Macy’s on Warrensville Center Road on March 13 for a theft of Polo brand clothes. Records listed the value at $7,650, but did not say how many items were taken.

Surveillance video caught the theft on camera, and an investigation was launched. On March 18,
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a University Heights detective identified the person in the video as 53 year old Michael Hatcher, records state.

A day later, on March 19, Mentor police arrested Hatcher, accusing him of a similar theft from the Macy’s at the Great Lakes Mall in Mentor. Police found Polo brand shirts in the trunk of Hatcher’s car when he was arrested, according to court records.
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Rising sentiment may help sustain sales during the holiday shopping season, which accounts for as much as 40% of retailers annual revenue. Fewer new claims for jobless benefits and cheaper fuel costs are easing the burden for American consumers, whose spending accounts for about 70% of the economy.for confidence are improving, Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. labour market is healing, inflation is moderating and fears of a second recession have faded somewhat. median projection in the Bloomberg survey called for a confidence reading of 44. Estimates of 70 economists ranged from 37 to 49.6. The index averaged 53.7 during the 18 month recession that ended in June 2009. in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10 year Treasury note rose to 2.02% from 1.97% late yesterday.Results of the Conference Board survey reflected responses from consumers by Nov. 15, a week before the congressional supercommittee announced it failed to agree on a deficit reduction plan.Tuesday figures exceed the gains in other recent sentiment surveys. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index monthly expectations gauge climbed in November to the highest reading since July. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer expectations for six months from now rose in November to the highest level in five months.Residential real estate prices dropped more than forecast in the year ended September, showing the industry at the center of the 2008 financial crisis continues to struggle, another report today showed.The S index of property values in 20 cities dropped 3.6% from September from the same month in 2010 after decreasing 3.8% in the year ended August, the group said Tuesday in New York. The median forecast of 32 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 3% decrease.The Conference Board data showed a measure of present conditions increased to 38.3 from 27.1. The measure of expectations for the next six months rose to 67.8 from 50.The percent of respondents in the Conference Board survey expecting more jobs to become available in the next six months climbed to 12.9, a four month high,
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from 10.8 in October.The proportion expecting their incomes to rise over the next six months rose to 14.9% from 11.1%.The share of consumers who said jobs were currently plentiful climbed to 5.8%, the highest since May 2009, from 3.6%. regions, according to today report.Stock MarketThe report also showed that 24.9% of respondents said they expect stocks to gain in the next year. Confidence picked up in all income levels.In Europe, the debt crisis is depressing consumer attitudes. European confidence in the economic outlook dropped more than economists projected in November as the 17 nation euro region moved closer to recession.An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro area fell to 93.7 from 94.8 in October, the European Commission in Brussels said today. That the lowest since November 2009. Economists forecast a drop to 93.9, the median of 31 estimates in a Bloomberg survey showed.Black FridayRetail sales climbed 16%, and shoppers spent US$398.62 on average, up from US$365.34 a year earlier, the National Retail Federation said Monday, citing a survey from BIGresearch. Web sales on Black Friday surged 26% to US$816 million and 18% to US$479 million on Thanksgiving Day, said ComScore, a Reston,
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Virginia based research firm.

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was stressful, he said as he let his double espresso get cold during a recent day trip to Minneapolis from his home in New York. just knew, here I am, I better know my game. And plus, I have family up here, so I was like, God, if I have to hear, missed it .

He was relieved when he presented his Minnesota assortment to a roomful of Target executives and saw the reaction: knowing smiles and chuckles. After all,
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it hard to go wrong with the region trademark sayings of betcha and da. Other pieces riff off the state treasured gems such as its plentiful lakes and much celebrated state fair.

is a great consciousness among big national chains of the need to act a bit smaller, said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. this world of, can shop anywhere anytime from anybody, there is this sense of how do I be seen as something more personal and intimate and how do I differentiate myself to the local community?

Target effort has produced some controversy, exemplifying the challenges big companies face when trying to local.

When the Boston collection first debuted over the summer, a local T shirt firm took out a full page ad in the Boston Herald asking why Target didn use a Boston company to design the shirts. Boston Pride to NYC? the ad asked incredulously. (The company, Sully Brand, also objected to Target Monstah shirt that was similar to one of its own creations. Target ended up pulling that shirt.)
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La marque de pr am a fait appel au dessinateur fran Pierre Le Tan le temps d’une collection capsule en limit Celle ci a r dans le cadre de la prochaine de la foire Design Miami, qui se d du 2 au 6 d prochains.

Connu pour ses nombreuses couvertures publi dans le New Yorker, Pierre Le Tan a r tout au long de sa carri des dessins pour les plus grands magazines, de Vogue Harper’s Bazaar en passant par The World of Interiors, Madame Figaro ou encore le New York Times Magazine.

Dans le cadre de cette collaboration, le dessinateur revisite certains de ses croquis, et met l’honneur des baigneuses, des flamants roses ou encore des cr aquatiques, qui viennent recouvrir les accessoires de la marque am limit se compose notamment de paires de chaussettes pour homme et femme, d’un cabas, d’une trousse, de parapluies, de pochettes ou encore d’un carnet.
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CHESTERFIELD Taubman Prestige Outlets is betting on an eclectic pop up shop of local products and designer goods to attract the interest of capricious shoppers.

Located in a prime location next to the food court and across from the busy Gap and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Emerge boutique will feature a rotating schedule of regional businesses starting April 7.

“Our customer is expecting so much more from us,” general manager Colleen O’Neill explained. And she says, malls and outlets are working with a lot less.

The beleaguered 40 year old Chesterfield Mall located about 3.5 miles east of Taubman filled some of its numerous vacancies with nonretailers, including some nonprofits, but more space appears to be resolutely vacant as the property undergoes a complicated for sale process. Securities and Exchange Commission to explain walking away from the property with a $140 million outstanding loan.

The two outlets, which opened head to head, were expected to be fierce rivals, but St. Louis Premium Outlets continues to maintain a steady occupancy rate and O’Neill at Taubman says they’ve eased into a de facto truce.

“I don’t feel like the whole ‘outlet wars’ stuff ever really happened,” O’Neill said.

Representatives at St. Louis Premium Outlets declined to comment.

But overall, if the outlets didn’t battle each other, they surely spurred the demise of Chesterfield Mall, which will likely be redeveloped into something other than a mall.

“Overall retail tax revenue has been flat overall (just 1.5 to 2 percent gains) which says that there was no real (financial) gain from having two outlets,” said Libby Tucker, assistant city administrator for Chesterfield.

She said that they’re happy to have the options for residents and visitors but she’s anxious for Chesterfield Mall to be sold and recreated into a vital city asset once more.

“We know it can’t sustain a mall but maybe a mixed use facility with condos and retail,” Tucker said. A morning visit this week found it sparsely filled with mall walking exercisers, a dozen or so moms and kids in a playgroup, a midmorning fitness class in the food court and a few off peak shoppers.

Weekday mornings aren’t brisk shopping times, so the crowd at both outlets was equally sparse.

Plagued with a rash of store closures including Kate Spade on Saturday, which vacated the space Emerge will occupy O’Neill said Taubman Properties, which controls 27 shopping centers across the country, is using Emerge to test the concept of filling holes with a rotating collection of small, local retailers. If it works as intended, O’Neill said it’ll be repeated at other Taubman Properties.

The new Emerge boutique, only open Fridays through Sundays until August, is part of a concerted programming effort to entice shoppers into increasing visits now that the weather is warming.

Boutiques, wineries and entrepreneurs who will occupy Emerge are getting a deal they couldn’t refuse a mall storefront without the commitment of rent. Emerge businesses will pay a portion of their sales to the center, but otherwise the cost is only their payroll.

Chrissy Fogerty of Fauxgerty, an online startup with a physical shop at 228 North Euclid Avenue, said, “I’m excited to kind of see what happens. It’s kind of an experiment, but this seemed like a good way to meet people and expose new customers to our line who likely haven’t heard of us before,” and wouldn’t otherwise stumble upon the shop.

Fauxgerty specializes in mid priced vegan leather jackets and luxury rebel with a cause cool girl items that fit the brand’s image. Fauxgerty has only signed up for one weekend of Emerge from April 21 to 23, the same weekend as a planned Forever Vintage Market pop up in the parking lot.

O’Neill said the key to maintaining mall traffic is maintaining momentum and interest, even if more established retailers become unreliable.

“Everyone says Amazon is going to dominate everything, but apparel is different,” O’Neill said. “People still want to try on clothing and shoes. It’s just different. There are things that don’t sell as well on the internet, things like handbags that people want to touch, see and feel.”

They just have to keep nudging people to come in and take a look, O’Neill said. There will be weekend events from Memorial Day to Labor Day to generate buzz, and she said they are expecting to close the deal on three new retailers including the teen oriented Journeys, which will open sometime in May.
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If Bush America appears to be tanking as the Iraqi war grinds into its fifth year and the universal sympathy vote that was ours after 9/11 has soured into a sort of universal distaste Polo America is having a banner year. This began to become clear to me not long ago, as I walked across Red Square in Moscow. Spotting a young student wearing board shorts emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes, I stopped him to inquire what this sanctified emblem of Jeffersonian democracy signified in his mind. “Ralph Lauren brand,” he said flatly and moved on.

The truth is, things do not seem all that different in Paris, Milan or Tokyo, as I found on a recent tour through those cities, where I was constantly startled to see people costumed as if they were auditioning for “Love Story” or “The Summer of ’42” or an Independence Day parade. Ralph Lauren, of course, is far from alone in having divined a burgeoning appetite in the marketplace for classic American styles or marketing to it. At the recent men’s wear shows in Italy, every designer who was not exhibiting Zouave pants or boiler suits claimed Steve McQueen as an influence. And it cannot be an accident that the Grimaldis of Monaco have turned to marketing the cool patrician looks of their Philadelphia born mother, the ultra American ice princess Grace, with a museum retrospective and a lavish catalog, in an effort to pep up their kitsch principality; or that Tommy Hilfiger now operates a store in Paris to sell the stuff he always refers to as “preppy with a twist”; or that even Brooks Brothers has inaugurated an outpost along a stretch of the super modish Rue St. Honor in Paris. How anomalous it seemed when I first walked down this Right Bank street, past the toxically hip Htel Costes and the usual cluster of skinny boys in faux hawks and Dior jeans, only to come upon a storefront of headless mannequins clad in the kind of staid jackets that instantly evoke “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.” That was last year, I reckon. Now half the men in Paris seem to be dressing as if they’d decided to change their names from Thierry to Biff.

Still, no other designer has approached Ralph Lauren in his capacity for exploiting a certain kind of Americana. It was Lauren, after all, who went from designing a simple four inch necktie for Beau Brummel in the late 1960s to colonizing vast sartorial hunks of American high society and transforming the tweaked results into a $13.5 billion publicly traded business whose logo, a jaunty equestrian with a cocked polo mallet, is almost as recognizable in certain places as the American flag. Much as Walt Disney did before him using another cluster of homegrown symbols, Lauren has recently expanded his retailing theme parks to include outposts across the globe; in the past several years alone, he has opened showy flagships in Milan, Tokyo and, most recently, Moscow, all part of a campaign to expand and conquer, to turn Ralph Lauren America into Planet Ralph.

“I’m not designing clothes, I’m creating a world,” Lauren once remarked, and that world, manufactured from whole cloth, is as organized and as tightly scripted as anything ever devised by Uncle Walt. Yet, where Disney drew his inspiration from archetypes as old as human history, Ralph Lauren has kept his vision strictly focused on narratives of class. His genius, frequently noted, lies in his ability to exploit a longing most of us feel to elevate our ordinary bourgeois existence and adapt it, at least superficially, to resemble the more seductive contours of our social betters. It is far from a secret that Lauren lures consumers into a dreamscape populated by fair skinned, fine boned people with the “kind of attractiveness,” to quote the class obsessed Italian novelist Alessandro Piperno, “that is usually the prerogative of high ranking Gentiles.” He installs us, through his advertising and his retail imagery, in baronial manor houses with chintz upholstered drawing rooms hung with ancestral portraits and littered with Chinese vases of massed flowers. From somewhere beyond the pillared porch in Lauren’s West Egg, there comes a sound of tinkling laughter.

This illusion is given physical form at the flagship stores, which defined the designer store as tourist destination long before Louis Vuitton refurbished its vast 20,000 square foot theme park on the Champs lyses in 2005. “I’ve always thought of the collections and the stores like movies or novels,” Lauren told me not long ago as we sat in his New York headquarters, located in a Midtown high rise whose generic lobby and elevator give little indication of the mahogany paneled “clubhouse” that lies beyond the office door. Not surprisingly, Lauren’s sanctum is appointed to resemble an annex of his most celebrated retail outpost, the former Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue. That store, which opened in 1986, is the Anglophile template on which the others on Bond Street in London, the Place de la Madeleine in Paris, the Via Montenapoleone in Milan, Omotesando in Tokyo and Tretyakovsky Passage in Moscow are based.

Wearing a tan summer suit nipped to accentuate his jogging fit form, he beckoned a visitor into an office that resembled the room of a spoiled but industrious teenager. There was furniture inspired by Mies van der Rohe and other celebrated 20th century designers. There were model planes and cars that reflected his passion for collecting vintage automobiles. There were massed fresh flowers and a mlange of photographic and painted images meant to bespeak a cultivated and eclectic eye. Whether he chose the pictures himself is no more the point than the particular fashions of any given season. “It’s not the styles that matter so much,” Lauren said. It’s the script.

By now the visual idiom of Ralph Lauren’s world is as codified and seamless as a blueprint of Epcot Center, all underground passages and concealed machinery. That it is a formula but not schtick owes a lot to the savvy of his corporate design team headed by Alfredo Paredes, a behind the scenes force and himself the son of Cuban immigrants in conjuring the image of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation for more than two decades.

Wherever one visits a Ralph Lauren store, there will of course be those same Chinese vases of massed flowers and pictures of elegant hunting swells. What changes in each is the intensity, the quality and the historical and mnemonic dimensions of the carefully assembled accretions, minutely calibrated in each new market to suit the local levels of expectations and taste.

So it is that, in the 24,000 square foot Tokyo store whose “neo Classical” limestone exterior obscures its origins as a utility company, the Japanese “voraciousness for luxury,” as Lauren put it, is richly indulged with sweeping marble staircases; beveled mirrors inset with flat screen TVs showing footage of Lauren’s runway shows; Persian rugs; benches upholstered in Navajo blankets; Pueblo pottery; framed images of Hollywood stars and louche but natty jazz musicians; and paintings of somebody’s comely ancestors, nobody really cares whose.

“American luxury is about a sensibility and an approach to life,” Lauren told me. “It’s about developing the world you see in your imagination and using that to create an environment of comfort and ease.” The world Lauren saw in his imagination and has since conjured so successfully for domestic and foreign consumption is at some remove from the one in which he was born 67 years ago as Ralph Lifschitz, and it was distinctly at odds with the reality of growing up in a four room apartment overlooking Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx, where he was raised by Ashkenazi Jews who fled Russia in the early 20th century. “I was always inspired by those kind of prep school people and their clothes,” he told me. “By classic things, by the way those people looked and dressed. Z. Guest once quipped to me that Ralph Lauren probably owed her social cohort royalties.)

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If nothing else, mimicking the customs and adapting the clothes of the upper class has been good business for Lauren, who was recently named the men’s wear designer of the year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America and whose brand was recently identified in a consumer survey as one of the world’s most recognizable and desirable. For the last decade, the designer has been buying back many of the estimated 350 licenses under which his products were manufactured in order to consolidate the image of the publicly traded company, of which he has the controlling interest. “Everything I do, everything I’ve ever done, is about what I love and the taste level I believe in,” he told me. “There’s a lot of emotion behind the brand.”

Certainly the decision to open a flagship in Russia had its emotional implications for the designer. “You know, his parents left Russia to go to America,” explained Fabio Mancone, a senior vice president of Polo Ralph Lauren’s European operations. Lauren’s newest Russian store, one of two there, opened in May and occupies three stories of a prime corner on Tretyakovsky Passage, a Rodeo Drive style confection built around the shells of two 19th century buildings on a cobbled alley near the Kremlin. If Lauren’s late parents, Frank and Freda, would find little else recognizable in contemporary Russia, surely they would have had no problem comprehending what Mancone characterized as a “hunger there to make it, a hunger for money, for success.”

Alongside Tiffany Company, Prada and Bentley Motors, Ralph Lauren is now available to satisfy the appetites and evolving tastes of the Russian oligarchs so densely concentrated that Moscow has the highest percentage of billionaires of any capital in the world.

“We sold 17 crocodile Ricky bags” at up to $20,000 each “on opening day,” said Alla Verber, a vice president of the Mercury Group, the developers of Tretyakovsky Passage and one of Russia’s foremost importers of luxury goods. “The world still makes fun of Russian people with this idea of either old babushkas or women in high heels and Versace,” she added. “But don’t forget, for 70 years, Russians didn’t have the opportunity to buy anything. It wasn’t around.” After such privation, “anything looked good to us, and the world started to make fun.”

Since that time, Russians rich and poor (the average per capita wage is a fraction of the cost of a Ricky bag) have become willing conscripts in the global consumer fantasy of arrival. Or so one might think from the hushed and Gatsbyesque mood so assiduously cultivated in Lauren’s new Moscow store.

“For years now, the Lauren brand was known, very well accepted and desired by Russians,” Verber said from her car phone en route to the south of France. “The reason is simple. People want things that look like they’re worth the money. They want this look of quality.”

What they want, of course, is their piece of the bewitching illusion that generations of revolutionaries and social reformers struggled (and died) to debunk. Somewhere in “The Worst Intentions,” the hilarious send up of contemporary consumerism and class mania, Alessandro Piperno’s protagonist asserts that “today we can say with absolute assurance that Karl Marx with his mania for predicting the future was grossly mistaken.” I had Piperno’s book with me in Moscow. And it struck me as I ambled by the immense shiny Vuitton and Dior stores on Red Square and the sad Lenin impersonator charging $2 to pose for photographs and then on to the cobbled lane, where the Bentleys were parked bumper to bumper outside Ralph Lauren’s store that this might be the understatement of all time.
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