King RalphRalph the Lion-Hearted: Though he was born in...

Inside Fashion

August 22, 1991|By Chicago TribuneNew York Times News Service

King Ralph

Ralph the Lion-Hearted: Though he was born in the Bronx, there are times that Polo's Ralph Lauren must believe he has some royal blood coursing through his veins.

We can understand a crest on the pocket of a navy Polo blazer, but now Lauren is introducing women's black calfskin loafers decorated with a "Lauren Lion" crest in antique brass across the loafers' vamp. The crest -- two upright lions encircling the fancy initials "R" and "L" and stamped with the designer's full name -- also will appear as a belt buckle, a handbag clasp and will be printed on a scarf. The Lauren lion loafer for men will appear in November. The women's shoes will be arriving in stores soon. Men's and women's loafers are the same price: $245.

Come October, there'll also be a new version of Polo's fragrance for men, called Polo Crest. A crest, crown-shaped this time, will appear on the clear bottle and blue box. (The popular, original Polo herby-leathery scent that is packaged in deep green will continue).

Now, there's just one more thing to watch for: If Ralph appears in his ads wearing a crown instead of his beloved cowboy hat, we'll know something royal is going on.

@ The cloth coat has made a comeback. For years, there werraincoats and there were furs, and the good old Republican cloth coat was pushed to the back of the closet.

But now, as winters in many parts of the country are growing milder and anti-fur activists prowl the streets, the time is right for fabric coats.

To make the transition appealing, designers and manufacturers have spiffed up the styling. Women are no longer limited to a choice between a single-breasted straight coat and a double-breasted straight coat.

They can have a swingy trapeze coat with a scarf neckline, a zip-front chemise style, a trench coat, a peacoat or a quilted topper.

"We're getting snippets of longer lengths to come," said Joan Kaner, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, "but short coats are still the most popular. They've got versatility. They look good over long skirts, short skirts, pants or leggings."

Andrew Basile, Bergdorf Goodman's fashion director, said he thinks coats should be either very short or very long and expects more long coats in seasons to come.

"A very long coat looks good with a very short skirt and boots, or with a cat suit," he said.

Neiman Marcus is testing the waters with an ankle-length trench coat of wool and angora in burnt orange by Bisang, a Swiss fur manufacturer. Which goes to show that even furriers want to be politically correct.

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