miami heat polo shirt invents Country in the City

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HIGH above Madison Avenue, old time rocking chairs ($350 to $1,000) hang from pipes on the ceiling, twig brooms ($85) are propped up against barrels filled with rolls of mattress ticking, stone washed denim and buffalo check cotton ($35 to $55 a yard). Flannel shirts ($45 to $97) are piled onto rough hewed wood shelves, and there is country music in the air.

The ”Polo Country Store Authentic Dry Goods” is Ralph Lauren’s newest merchandising concept.

The shop is Mr. Lauren’s latest foray into scene setting with his own brand of theatricality. The mix of clothing, home furnishings and folk art is enticing for citydwellers who might want to get the down home country experience, complete with the scent of pine and cedar, without leaving town or muddying their boots.

Many people will find this cozy world hard to resist, with its authentic late 19th century quilts ($575 to $825) and hooked rugs ($350 to $1,200), old postcards ($2.50 each), new socks ($9 to $16 a pair), shearling lined slippers (about $100 a pair) and sweaters in American Indian inspired patterns ($405). At least that is what Mr. Lauren, chairman of Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation, hopes. ”You can even buy the props here, without waiting for an antiques show.”

Mr. Lauren’s merchandising ideas stem from his own interests. ”When I find things that are very personal to me, I find that they’re personal to other people, too,” he said.

That means championing objects that can give a comforting sense of the past, whether they are well loved antique dolls or newly weathered denim shirts and jackets.

He has based the new store on an idealized image of the old general store. ”Have you seen that movie, ‘Shane’?” he asked, referring to the 1953 Alan Ladd film with its rugged Western setting. ”That’s the idea.”

The new home furnishings linens, pillows and upholstery all culled from the Ralph Lauren Home Collection’s Western and Country collections, are the backbone of the boutique.

They are punctuated by weather vanes ($425 to $1,200) and birdhouses ($325 to $550) and, as usual in any Ralph Lauren project, no detail has been overlooked. Even the wrapping, string and craft paper stamped in green ink, contributes to the old time atmosphere of the shop.

Mr. Lauren said the 965 square foot shop was a prototype for further retailing efforts featuring country clothes along with furniture and folk art. The company has already opened a handful of country style shops, with more of a fashion emphasis, in a number of cities, including Little Rock, Ark.; Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City.
miami heat polo shirt invents Country in the City