Polo Ralph Lauren: The Iron Horse
Who better to bring Polo Ralph Lauren’s storied history to life than cutting-edge cultural icon THE FACE? In celebration of our exclusive capsule collection, we commissioned the style bible to deliver a vision of the collection, as seen through their signature creative lens. Introducing “The Iron Horse”…
Back in 1981, Browns was among the first to bring Ralph Lauren’s unique brand of intrinsically American youthfulness to the UK. It feels fitting, then, that forty years later, the two have collaborated on an exclusive capsule collection, worn by none other than London-born musicians Jimothy Lacoste and George Riley.
Shot on the London Underground by photographer Theo Cottle, our story celebrates the cult mode of transportation which doubles as a treasured youth hangout spot. “The first good memories I have of the Tube are from when I was around 13-years-old,” Lacoste recalls. “Me and my friends would just get on the trains and go nowhere... It was just a great place to cotch.” Lacoste even penned his viral hit Subway System as an ode to the London Underground and its vibrant energy: “Colours, lines, electricity, that’s my rhythms/Trains are hella fun, constant shows like The Simpsons,” he croons over a catchy beat, with signature deadpan delivery.
Representing the effervescent creative energy of Britain’s youth, both artists’ future-facing, distinctive sounds are heavily influenced by their respective upbringings in Camden and Shepherd’s Bush. Riley’s music, which fuses elements of dub, jungle, jazz and R&B, is an exercise in originality packed full of West London energy. Meanwhile, Lacoste’s whip-smart, tongue-in-cheek lyricism celebrates the glorious mundanity of everyday life – suddenly, the daily commute no longer feels like a routine slog, instead it becomes a whirring vessel for creative collision.
In the early 1990s, New York’s Subway also played an important role in bringing the spirit of Polo Ralph Lauren to the streets. It offered so much more than transportation from A to B, bringing together the city’s youth and allowing subculture to expand and thrive as it bubbled underneath the city.
Around the same time, graffiti, an artistic medium inherent to global transportation systems, subverted Polo Ralph Lauren clothing into a new countercultural uniform. It created trends that would drip down into teenagers’ bedrooms around the world – particularly in London – as writers took inspiration from their NYC counterparts and used the Tube as a subcultural stage. The carriages became catwalks, embracing Polo Sport pieces as the ultimate hallmark of cool.
While the same is true today, in many ways the pandemic has allowed us to reflect: on the things we took for granted before the world changed, on how to find new ways of expressing ourselves as creatively and imaginatively as possible. We might not have realised it before, but transportation as a means for the transfer of creative energy is an intrinsic part of our daily rhythm.
The Polo Ralph Lauren X Browns story takes stylistic cues from our friends across the pond, paying homage to New York’s Subway and the London Underground as fundamental gateways for innovative, youthful energy. In his signature style, Cottle captures a sense of nostalgia: in the wake of stop-start Covid restrictions, many of us haven’t ridden the Tube for months. It’s a step change that’s created a longing for that sense of normality, the familiar ritual of travelling to meet friends.
There’s an electric kind of energy in the air, as we prepare to ride the Tube into a new world of possibilities. Polo Ralph Lauren, together with these iconic modes of transport, form cultural cornerstones that continue to shape life as we know it. And when we step into this new world, one thing’s for certain – we won’t ever take the little things in life for granted again.
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Talent: George Riley + Jimothy Lacoste
Photographer + Director: Theo Cottle
Styling: Danny Reed
Creative Director: Alex O’Brien
Creative Strategist: Leo Robins
Executive Producer: Rosanna Gouldman
Production: Louise Nindi + Sami Ambrose
Hair: Amidat Giwa
Makeup: Thomasin Waite
Director of Photography: Joseph Gainsborough
Edit: Millie Gray
Music Composition & Sound Design: Cal Swingler
Grade: John O'Riordan @Pundersons Gardens
Retouching: Jack Hunter
Casting: Isabel Bush @Joni Casting
Additional Talent: Hannah, Iva, Oscar, Ugo
Words: THE FACE
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