On the corner of 72nd and Madison on New York’s Upper East Side, sits the Rhinelander Mansion, a palatial building that houses the flagship location of Ralph Lauren’s global empire. And yet, “The Mansion” (as it is affectionately known) is far more than a store, it is the epicenter of the RL universe. It’s a physical manifestation of Ralph’s vision, complete with imposing antiquities, more Americana than a field at Brimfield, and of course the full breadth of the brand’s collections.
And so, when the brand chooses to shift course, or launch a new idea, The Mansion is the place for Ralph where everything begins. The latest concept to be debuted at the flagship is an updated “shoe salon,” which showcases the complete Ralph Lauren footwear range, from Purple Label to Polo, as well as a freshly updated Made-to-Order Program. The room itself is grand in a manner that one would expect from an Upper East Side manor, with the deep colors that allude to RL’s higher end lines. Displayed on the multitude of mahogany shelves are an array of models that range from resort ready espadrilles to stomping leather hikers that conjure of images of Gianni Agnelli.
On the far side of the salon lies the Made-to-Order wall, presenting a slew of mocked-up models that aren’t for sale, but are rather intended to spur a customer’s imagination for their own customizable creations. Through this Made-To-Order program RL allows customers to create a shoe to their unique specifications, allowing them to choose from a variety of leathers, suedes, and even crocodile skins. The salon as a whole speaks to a more concerted effort from Ralph Lauren to build upon their footwear program, and as they hone in on their footwear line, shoe specific rooms such as this will be popping up all across the RL empire. So if you can’t make the pilgrimage to this Madison Avenue mecca, have no fear, because pretty soon Ralph will be bringing those custom alligator double monk boots to a store near you.