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November 24, 1995 - Image 84

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-11-24

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suedes— an English-manor look
"which is what I think most peo-
ple think of us as," she says.
Along with the imitation, Lau-
ren's success has fostered some
derision among individualists un-
comfortable with the concept of
design "environments" or with ro-
manticized, derivative themes.
But many Lauren detractors re-
lent because his products are so


For exotic tastes,
there is a bed that
seems to come straight
out of Renaissance
Verona and a collection
of beautiful vintage-
looking wicker.

Since Ralph Lauren designs
every new product he sells, Vig-
nola says there is a "tremendous"
correlation between the Lauren
home and apparel lines. She il-
lustrates her point with Specta-
tor, the "very feminine" new
collection in both the women's and
home departments, in which a
black and white design concept is
played off pink linen.
And in April, Lauren launched
the home version of his new
Ralph clothing line, which targets
the young club-hopping set with
its trendy, sexy, body-forming
clothes. Best-sellers at Lauren
still include items from the
ground-breaking 1983 collection:
oxford-cloth sheets made from the
same yarn as Lauren's oxford
shirts ("other people have these
now," notes Vignola); and dark
paisley sheets inspired by Lau-
ren's Ancient Madder silk ties.
Years ago the designer took suit-
ings to crystal cutters to create
Herringbone and Glen Plaid, his
best-selling crystal patterns to-


alvin Klein, among others,
seems to have taken a les-
son from Ralph Lauren.
He promises "a total
Calvin Klein environment" with
his new Calvin Klein Home col-
lection. He'll begin with bedding,
bath linens, tableware and gift
items, available in select depart-
ment stores and in his new flag-
ship store in New York this
September. Like his clothes, the
home furnishings have clean
lines, lush fabrics and soothing
colors with names like sage, fern,

iron and smoke. But there are
surprising romantic touches such
as a blanket made of wool lace
and a rose print on the china. Fu-
ture plans for Klein's "total envi-
ronment" include furniture,
decorative fabrics and home fra-
Alexander Julian Home
Colours is not a total environ-
ment, but an extensive collection
of furniture and upholstery that
Universal Furniture calls "A Vin-
tage Look for the '90s." Julian
had been designing his own fur-
niture for 15 years. And like his
clothes, his furniture is ground-
ed in tradition, but enriched with
such post-modern Julian touch-
es as jazzy '50s jewel tones, and
whimsical inlaid bow ties and
patterns from wing-tip shoes or
argyle sweaters. For exotic tastes,
there is a bed that seems to come
straight out of Renaissance
Verona and a collection of beau-
tiful vintage-looking wicker. "I'm
not trying to reinvent the wheel,"
says Julian, who has been work-
ing with factories to better recre-
ate the patina of old antiques.
Julian considers himself a
product of his youth in Chapel
Hill, N.C., and "knocking around
the world." Among today's fa-
mous fashion designers who
have crossed over into home fur-
nishings, he has the longest his-
tory with the apparel industry.
His father, Maurice, owned Ju-
lian's College Shop, a smn11, Old-
World-style menswear shop
along the main college drag in
Chapel Hill. It is still open after
54 years, now under the man-
agement of Alexander's sister,
Some claim Maurice invented
the traditional collegiate "Car-
olina Look," which in turn in-
spired the Bass shoe company to
launch its popular Bass Weejun
Loafer in the '50s.
Today Julian's still carries
plenty of bow ties and argyle
sweaters, but it concentrates
more on Alexander's tradition-
based but more fashionable
menswear. On a "Game Satur-
day" earlier this year, friends and
customers were huddled around
a mid-floor pants rack where pho-
tos of Home Colours were casu-
ally stacked. "We sell a lot of
furniture out of this store," says
Missy Julian-Fox, though there
is none on the floor. "The reason
we are able to keep on here now
without Dad is that his genius
was passed on to my brother."


f Alexander Julian's style is
associated with Chapel Hill,
Seattle-based Eddie Bauer's
reflects the rugged North-

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