(also posted, in slightly different form, on the dandyism.net Forum
In a moment of tedium between answering calls, responding to faxes and all of the other activities which necessarily accompany servitude to Mammon, I glanced at the link (ever-so-conveniently placed above) to the style.com presentation of the RL Spring 2006 collection.
There are, of course, good news and bad news. It took a while to get past the ridiculous slouchy, toed-out poses of the models, who look like patients of the emergency room of a prestigious chiropractic clinic who had been forced to sprint a marathon at gunpoint. However, once past that, we can make some assessments.
Yes, it is noted that RL's is a commercial enterprise and as such has to cater to a broad swath of potential customers and clients, many of whom would fall far afield of the label of dandy. Granted.
Now, I am heartened by the silhouette of the DB jackets in general, and the inclusion of such elegant touches as ticket pockets. The SB jackets have lapels that harken back to the early 1960s and are, in my estimation, far too narrow and likely to be This Season's equivalent to the Nehru jacket. I'd give them a miss. I am also not pleased with the emphasis on the cutaway collar shirt in the Purple Label photographs, especially in light of the fact RL shirts are often cut so the collar meets in a / \ and not a /\. As a consequence, too much of the neckband exposes too much of the sides of the tie. I say it's spinach and to Hell with it. The Black Label shirtings (with an intriguing display of pinks) was far better, IMCO.
While I am lobbing brickbats, I must also express some displeasure at the tie/suit tone-on-tone thing. It's tolerable in the navies, but it looks beyond drab and washed out in the greys. I was pleased to see SOME cuffed and forward-pleated trouserings, but not as many as I had expected, seeing as how RL is pretty much a lone wolf--on the "macro" end of menswear, anyway--in having trousers pleated that way. I can live with some casual trouserings being pleatless but the cufflessness is vexing. The incrongruous prep-slob thing is something of a RL runway hallmark and, as such, easily tuned out, even IF this collection seemed even more "skid row Prep" than any in living memory. Don't worry about it...I don't. (However. The less said about the surfeit of sandals, the better.)
I did rather like the leather trench coat and the leather "rocketeer" jacket; however impractical these may be to a life spent within a ten minute flight from the tropics.
Just one man's opinion,