This evening we toasted to Double RL’s first year in Hong Kong with canned spirits, the twang of a folk duo, and the appreciation of a damned good denim outfit.
For those unfamiliar, Double RL aka RRL is a fine project for the house of Ralph Lauren. The outpost of Mr. Lauren’s ardor, this collection showcases his admiration for the frontiersmen and frontierswomen who built the great Americana. Iron-jawed union heroes and the rigid jeans a 15-hour shift could break. Sentinels of naval shipyards with only the pockets of a wool pea coat to save their hands. Daredevils of industry and the finely combed haberdashers who suited their panache. Every piece in this store carries the familiar tune of honest pay for honest work. A well-dressed museum of American history, if you’d ask me.
The RRL staff were generous in hosting the event, offering much more than new items to their impressive stock. Matt Abergel – owner of HK eateries Yardbird, Sunday’s Grocery, and Ronin – led his staff in passing artisan cheese sandwiches and cans of Suntory highballs throughout the night, which made this morning’s hangover completely deserved. The house band upstairs played out the celebration with bluegrass and and country harmonies, ringing in the anniversary with all the right tunes for a house of this style.
I arrived to the Hollywood Rd shop at the open invitation of Joseph Au, whose anachronistic style reflected genuine study and homage. Joe is as sharp as he is modest, and I was glad to have met him and his colleagues, all active contributors to the design and direction of this store, who are in the enviable position of outfitting the hungry and stylistically diverse Hong Kong market.
Before the event my tendency to over think lapsed into the question of what would be appropriate event attire. Jacket and tie for the occasion? Chambray over army cloth for the store’s aesthetic? My only remaining RL product – a red knockoff Polo with pizzeria insignia – to show brand loyalty? But when I arrived in my work outfit to the party, I noticed that guests ranged from gray-suited financiers to indigoed denim collectors.
That’s the splendor of Hong Kong: in such a vibrantly heterogeneous city, one has the luxury to switch style palettes on the daily. A fact beautifully epitomized by RL’s senior director of men’s luxury brands, Mr. Ethan Newton, whose aesthetic is at-once chameleonic and superlative. From a beautiful run at The Armoury to his new home at RRL, Ethan and the team are in charge of an outfitter to color every wardrobe with a fine age.
Double RL hosts a great event, and off cocktail hour, their store proves just as fine.