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Ralph Lauren upset over U.S. Polo Association horse logo (again), court agrees

New York Fashion Week ended on February 14. Given how the Internet loves to take jabs at anything that takes itself as seriously as the

fashion industry does, you have by now probably already seen rundowns of the most bizarre runway get-ups and all most eye roll-inducing

looks.

One not-so-secret about the fashion industry, though, is that no one is really going to buy what Lanvin and Givenchy are sending down the

runway. Most people can’t afford or have no interest in a $4,000 Calvin Klein camelhair coat. What they do have an interest in, however,

are his much more affordable underwear, accessories and fragrances.

That is that way it is for many designers; a crepe-de-chine kimono-style evening gown might get an approving nod from Samurai Suzy and a

mention in Women’s Wear Daily, and those things do matter in the rarified atmosphere of haute couture. However, accessories, makeup,

fragrances and other affordable, branded items are the real bread and butter. Runways are for fashion as an art and as a concept;

department stores are for the bottom line.

So, that is why a recent ruling out of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is noteworthy. On Monday, the court held that just because

U.S. Polo Association has the right to use a horseman logo on apparel does not mean it can use a similar mark on its fragrances.

The lawsuit was brought by Ralph Lauren, who’s made a good living cladding East Coast WASPs in just about everything you can slap a polo

pony on.

The court’s decision is the latest installment in a litigious relationship that stretches back until at least 1984, when Ralph Lauren, a

luxury label, sued U.S. Polo Association, a far more “everyday” brand, for the first time.

As I read the decision, the court did not allow U.S. Polo Association to use its polo pony logo on fragrances because the packaging and

marketing of a bottle of fragrance doesn’t allow for the changes U.S. Polo Association has had to include on apparel so as to not

generate confusion. On a T-shirt, for example, the U.S. Polo Association can do what previous courts have required, such as including the

acronym “U.S.P.A.” On a much smaller bottle of cologne, however, it apparently can’t or won’t.

As I see it, this is a pretty big win for luxury brands. Accessories, cosmetics and things that people actually buy have limited real

estate for artistic cues, and in today’s profuse, over-cluttered market, designers have to clamor to make an impression. Gucci can do

that with its crossed G trademark and Versace with its Medusa Head logo, but what they can’t do is afford to have another company

freeloading off the instant association consumers have with these images.

Ralph Lauren Home Collections Archive … PART ONE

I was so happy that so many of you were pleased with the last post about the iconic Ralph Lauren, after I noticed his September 2013

Architectural Digest Cover story and decided to go nuts looking for pictures of his best work.

I got several emails, and comments asking if I had or could find pictures of any of the Ralph Lauren Home past collections. Well, my

extraordinary readers and followers, I dug and dug … and I think you are in luck!

The Ralph Lauren Home line has been in effect since 1983, when Ralph Lauren, tired of the sea of chintz and floral decided to manufacture

sheets and linens in his classic stripes and men’s suiting plaids. The comprehensive collection included paint, furniture, wall

coverings, and lighting. He then, and even now, strives to create an experience with his Home collection, rather than just selling

products.

His most current collections, Iconic Design and Left Bank Collection are both less staged than prior Ralph Lauren Home Lifestyle

Collections. They’re very prop filled, less of that overall “home” experience from collections in the past.

You can view them if you wish at the website, along with a few of the older collections, dating to Spring of 2010. A few of my favorites

from the site …

Gorgeous, right? Inspired by the international glamour of a ski chalet, the Fall 2012 Ralph Lauren Home Collection was probably my

favorite since St. Germain, and Indian Cove Lodge … which we will get to, I promise! Alpine Lodge is romantic, restful and serene. I

could move right in … can’t you? You can take the 360 room tour of the prop house here.