Ralph Lauren redefined

Joan Gunin, Carole Sloan, February 26, 2001

NEW YORK -Despite the nomenclature of the five new lifestyles ranging from "The Collector" to "Aubusson," the mood of the Ralph Lauren Home Collection for fall is opulent, luxurious and sensual.

The new groups offer an abundance of blankets and throws, the result of the acquisition by WestPoint Stevens of Chatham Mfg. blanket business and the acquisition of the pieces of the home textiles license it did not already hold that were held by Pillowtex.

This season the Home collection is clearly defined for the department store segment as well as for the Polo Ralph Lauren stores and some of the upper-end department stores.

"The Collector," perhaps the most contemporary of the lifestyles, is set in a house built of steel and glass and outfitted with pearwood walls and black slate floors.

For the super luxury side of the collection, red fox throws, a black leather and twill chaise and shearling and alligator throw pillows are part of the exotica. Alpaca shams with leather trim, yarn-dyed windowpane plaid sheets and a cashmere bed blanket are among the important elements. The cotton yarn-dyed sheets are $64 for the queen; the RL Logo jacquard queen sheet, a 280-count imported cotton sateen, is $89 for the queen; and the throw blankets include Avenue Cashmere, a cashmere/lambswool blend at $150 up to the red fox throw at several thousand dollars.

Replacing animal skin effects is a python motif, offered in real gilded python skin for decorative pillows as well as Nottoway, a python print motif on an imported cotton at $64 for the queen sheet in the Connoisseur Collection. Chambord Floral is the flat sheet, again an imported sheet at $64 for the queen.

The collection, an updated version of the company's early and classic Thoroughbred Collection, reflects the influence of ancestral hunting lodges. Classic English lines are highlighted in the furniture, and the home textiles are in shades of olive, purple, brown and white and loden.

Accessory textiles include a mohair plaid throw, tattersall and jacquard cable towels, a shearling throw and a herringbone wool throw with leather trim.

In Modern Country the look is clean and graphic with an exceptional contrast offered by the Victorian pediment bed. Tattersall, slubbed knits, fringed wool blanket plaid shams and a 460-count plied cotton top sheet is embellished with crochet work reminiscent of an antique table cloth at $300 for the queen. The queen duvet with the corchet lace detail is $1,000. Throw blankets range from $64 for the Cameron Stripe in cotton to the wool knits up to $700.

In the department store range, the queen comforter is $229, the Cameron Stripe is fashioned into bed throws, and Paige Floral is the sheet.

In Aubusson, the department store collection features Darboux Embroidery at $69 and Lambert Stripe at $69 for the queen as the fitted sheet and pillow cases. The upper-end sheets are Germaine, a 280-count Italian jacquard with the design of a Renaissance ceiling, retailing at $89 for the queen. A mohair bed blanket, a throw of Mongolian fur backed with embroidered Pashmina, crewel enhanced pillows and embroidered gold pillows with pearl detailing are among the exotic accessories for the lifestyle.

Madison Avenue, the fifth lifestyle, features a faux sable for the topper, a 280-count cotton sateen, Hollowell Stripe, and Layton Stripe and Clayton jacquard as sheets, all at $89.

The Polo towel at $12.99 sale, adds azalea, horizon, citrine and lilac. The Avenue towel at $19.99 sale, adds Delta Clay, ghurka, dawn and fieldstone.

New to the solid-color lineup in sheets are Avenue, a 300-count cotton broadcloth in bisque, grove, dahlia, faded iris, posy, lavender, slate and latte; Polo sheet, 275 cotton in conch, azalea, envy and placie; and Estate, a 280 cotton sateen in Bisacay Blue.

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