Has Ralph Lauren ever been more relevant? It's hard to pick a point in the span of the designer's nearly 50 year namesake business when he wasn't at the forefront of the fashion conversation, but the past year has seen him cement that reputation. Over the weekend, he scored a coup by dressing not only the new First Lady Melania Trump but also presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to her rival's inauguration, thus stitching his name to history without being drawn into a partisan spat. Throughout the presidential campaign he dressed Clinton, and Michelle Obama before that, and Lauren's done it all without sacrificing any pop culture credibility, as he's stayed a red carpet fixture to a new generation of starlets and become a touchstone for everyone from Kanye West—who regularly cites him as an inspiration–to Rihanna, who's now a regular at Lauren's tony Polo Bar restaurant in Manhattan. (In just a week, Lauren will show his Purple Label collection by appointment at New York Fashion Week Men's.) Speaking of the Polo Bar, that restaurant has become an avatar for a certain kind of old New York glamour, an exclusive boîte into which only a rarefied few are admitted. It was there that we sent our newest columnist, the New York Times best-selling graphic novelist and New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto after Lauren's Fall 2016 "see-now-buy-now" Fall 2016 show, a cowboy-themed collection that anticipated everyone's obsession with HBO's Westworld. Undercover, she found out exactly what happens at the Polo Bar after dark.
Marisa Acocella Marchetto is an illustrator and cartoonist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, among other publications, and the author of the New York Times bestselling graphic novels Ann Tenna (Knopf), Cancer Vixen (Knopf), and Just Who the Hell Is She Anyway? (Crown). She lives in New York City and you can find her on Instagram.
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