SERIES by Bodega presents the latest installment of BodegaVision highlighting the 1992 Stadium Collection, featuring reproductions of classic pieces and new designs inspired by the original, 1992 designs. Polo’s legend is dreamed in rolling country hills but lived in city streets across America. As part of the Series by Bodega Polo Stadium ’92 release, we spoke with contemporary creatives, Post, The Cool Kids, and Jordan Page, who also happen to be longtime Polo enthusiasts, as they reflected on their fandom and how it has influenced their own creative output.
The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colors breaking through. – Alexis de Tocqueville
Every country needs some version of a founding myth, an ideal on which the future course of the nation is propelled forward in service of. In the United States, we have the American Dream, the notion that the freedoms enshrined in the USA’s founding documents give any and every citizen the opportunity to reach the upper echelons of society.
Although a large, diverse, country like the United States is bound to have countless variations on what the “American Dream” actually is, the outward trappings remain remarkably consistent. It seems no matter who hits upon the American Dream from what starting point, almost everyone ends up ready for life in the genteel world of East Coast old money. Real summers on the Cape, winters on the slopes, school in Greenwich, parties at the Plaza, foliage covered Ivy League campuses type stuff.
One of the main reasons that this Great Gatsby-esque mythologizing of the American Upper Class remains such a cultural touchstone in the country’s cultural imagination is the vision of Ralph Lauren. Since launching the Polo label in 1967, the iconic designer’s work has come to define classic, American style.
While real life is, to say the least, a great deal more complicated than lumberjacks and dish scrubbers gumptioning their way into Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, the idea that a life of permanent, carefree ease is there for the taking exerts a powerful grip on the collective psyche of America.
It scarcely needs pointing out, but the audience for the Ralph Lauren Polo label extends far beyond the pool of customers who can identify several different nautical knots by sight. Anyone who has turned on television, thumbed through a magazine, or just walked down a street during the past three decades will recognize Polo as an apparently unlikely style fixture in any urban landscape. It’s a world far removed from the stables and croquet lawns of high society, but Polo is an absolute streetwear essential.
The idyllic trappings of WASP institutions may visually inspire Polo, but the idea of Polo was conceived in pre-Robert Moses, multi-ethnic, densely populated immigration enclave of the Bronx, very much the striving American Dream in action. A child of Eastern European, Jewish immigrants, parlaying a fashion sense cultivated by debonair inspirations like Cary Grant, John F. Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra, into his own label. In many ways, the biographical details of Ralph Lauren’s life are as important to Polo’s appeal as the upper class associations.
Polo was created with Ralph Lauren's full belief in the idea that high society status truly was attainable by anyone. Although the concept of high-end leisurewear as street fashion is usually couched in terms of the underclass subverting the fashions of their supposed betters by adopting it themselves, there is a twist in the tale, the legions of style conscious city kids kitted out in expensive ski jackets, riding pants, and traditional rugby shirts represent the truest execution of Ralph Lauren’s vision.
Twenty-five years ago, Ralph Lauren launched the inaugural Polo Sport collection. Incorporating bold graphic prints and text into sportswear pieces, the collection redefined casual sportswear. While this aesthetic was the era’s stylistic standard among traditional, performance athletic brands, the refined execution, combined with the upscale nature of Polo garments represented a sea change in how Americana was presented, and for that matter, what constituted classic American style, to the public at large. The collection resonated throughout the youth culture and fashion landscapes, setting a design template for years to come.
Series by Bodega and Ralph Lauren Polo present the Stadium ’92 Collection, featuring reproductions of classic pieces and new designs inspired by the original, 1992 designs.