It’s only been a couple months now since Ralph Lauren decided to close a major chapter in their edition of the preppy handbook by shuttering Rugby after eight uneven years, so it’s tough to say what sort of legacy the brand will have a decade or so from now. Only time will tell, whether or not Rugby will be looked back on will the same kind eyes as Hickey, Nom de Guerre and other bygone millennial brands, but I am happy to see that in the brand’s immediate wake, it’s the style of Rugby’s two torch bearers, Lee Norwood and John Fiske, that’s left the strongest impression. I always felt that Rugby’s concept was best represented not by some long-winded mission statement, or by any individual collection or pieces, but rather by its designers. No one could make the Rugby look seem natural quite like style Norwood and Fiske, and so I’m glad that the brand was immortalized through shots of each guy wearing what Jeff Hilliard informally dubbed “The Rugby uniform.”
This past summer, during an exceptionably slow day at work, my friend (and former co-worker) Matt spontaneously summed up the entire current menswear wave with one word: “Italiatrad.” While Matt’s impromptu portmanteau was all we needed to kill a day discussing the marriage of Neapolitan and Ivy, after that day I’d practically forgotten about the word altogether, although I’m pretty sure Matt’s been searching for a “real” definition of the word ever since. This past week though, I found Italiatrad back at the forefront of my mind, as I sat there reading the announcement that Antonio Ciongoli was leaving his role as deputy creative director of Michael Bastian to spearhead the creative direction of Isaia’s resurrected diffusion brand, Eidos.