Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation reported net income of $161 million, or $1.58 per diluted share, for the second quarter of Fiscal 2009, compared to net income of $115 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, for the second quarter of Fiscal 2008. The second quarter results reflect a 10% increase in net revenues, operating income growth of 26% and a 40% increase in net income, which includes the benefit of a lower effective tax rate compared to the prior year period.

Net income for the first six months of Fiscal 2009 increased 26% to $256 million, compared to $204 million in the comparable period last fiscal year. The growth in net income for the year-to-date period reflects a 7% increase in net revenues, operating income that is 15% greater than the prior year period and a lower effective tax rate. Net income per diluted share increased 31% to $2.51 from $1.92 in the first six months last year.

Net revenues for the second quarter increased 10% to $1.43 billion, compared to $1.30 billion for the comparable period last year. The higher net revenues primarily reflect shipments of new products, growth in global retail sales and higher European wholesale revenues. First half net revenues grew 7% to $2.54 billion from $2.37 billion in the comparable period of Fiscal 2008. The growth in net revenues is primarily attributable to shipments of new products, global retail sales growth and higher European wholesale sales. Wholesale sales increased 10% to $846 million, compared to $772 million in the second quarter last year. Shipments of new products and higher European sales offset lower domestic shipments of our core men's, women's and childrenswear products. For the first six months of the fiscal year, wholesale sales increased 6% to $1.42 billion from $1.35 billion in the first half of Fiscal 2008. The year-over-year increase in wholesale revenue is attributable to new product shipments and higher European sales that more than offset a decline in domestic shipments of our core men's, women's and childrenswear products.

U.S. clothing giant Polo Ralph Lauren plans to stop using animal pelts in all the company's products, the New York-based fashion house said.
The Independent reported that the decision is seen as a victory for animal rights campaigners who have repeatedly shunned the use of fur for fashion. Polo Ralph Lauren's halt on fur will begin with the 2006 Christmas shopping season.

The decision to reject fur also is the first by a major fashion chain since Calvin Klein made a similar vow in the 1990s, The Independent said.

The company's decision was a victory for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the newspaper said.

Sporting the tag-line, I'd rather go naked than wear fur, PETA has aggressively pursued a stop to the sale of furs. It also has repeatedly targeted celebrities who wear fur.

Polo Ralph Lauren said the company will donate leftover items including fur to charities for distribution among the poor.

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What does a New York fashion titan do for his 40th anniversary? He secures the first-ever public event at the Central Park Conservancy.

It was the perfect storm of natural beauty and stunning fashion for Ralph Lauren, who set up his label four decades ago and wears the crown for all-American ease and elegance.

Set against the park's lush green backdrop, Lauren's collection showcased the designer's celebratory mood: glamour gowns in electric florals mixed it up with upper-class equestrian. Think jackets, jodhpurs, riding crops and family crests. Beautiful, young, fresh and never snooty. Lauren's women have always been strong and sexy, and this season, they're strutting in patent stiletto boots, hot yellow trenches and skinny pants no wider than licorice laces. Ladylike short gloves were perfect for the show-ending standing ovation.

Ralph wasn't the only one celebrating a big birthday yesterday. It was 75 years ago that crocodile-chic brand Lacoste first started crafting preppy pieces for the sporty set.

A candy parade of rainbow-bright sporty dresses, bikinis and shorts poured onto the runway as though out of a Skittles packet.

You'll want to run to the south of France, after seeing the Malandrino collection, a watercolor splash of tangerine, ivy and geranium. Catherine Malandrino, inspired by a town called St. Paul de Vence, set her show against lush greenery. Out came slinky pieces that audience member Janet Jackson could squeeze into to show off her back-again bod.

Twinkle sent out petite pieces in soft chiffons. Though designers are relentless in their quest to get grown ups to wear jumpers, I don't think we should. Twinkle's shortie version is no exception.

Hail the hometown hero! Bronx-born Ralph Lauren celebrated 40 years in the fashion business last night with a star-studded runway show and dinner for 500 held in the Central Park Conservatory Garden.

Born Ralph Lifshitz on Oct. 14, 1939, Lauren developed an eye for style early in life - he used money earned from after-school jobs to purchase expensive suits.

But there is no typical stint at fashion college on his résumé. Instead, Lauren studied business at City College but dropped out before receiving a degree. His first gig touting style was as a glove salesman.

Next up was a job at tie manufacturer A. Rivetz & Co. It was at Rivetz were Lauren began designing wide ties, a stark contrast to the super-skinny versions then in mode. The ties would become the genesis of his entrepreneurial career.

With help from his older brother and a loan for $50,000, the man whose name would become the epitome of All-American style, launched his first business enterprise in 1968 - Polo Fashions.

Polo - still the go-to label for a preppie-classic take on modern style - grew to become an international business success, in part due to Lauren's canny knack for creating an aura of wealth and success around his products. As important as the actual designs are the packaging and advertising campaigns.

Buying Ralph Lauren is buying into the lifestyle - be it real or imagined - the brand represents. Old-money preppiness, tweedy English aristocracy, polo-playing playboys, rough-and-ready cowboys - there's something for everyone.

Lauren's empire (he is the founder, designer and chairman of the $900 million company and his net worth is estimated by Forbes.com to be $2.3 billion) reaches across men's wear, women's wear, jeans, fragrances, accessories and homewares. You can even cover your walls in Ralph Lauren paint.

Having envisaged the lifestyle, Lauren now lives it. He's rich, has a photogenic family and the jet-set life.

Classic American sportswear: Easy living in the most luxurious fabrics - stretch cashmere, silks and cottons. Stealth-wealth wardrobe mainstays for life in the 21st century.

Perfectly preppie: From pastels to primary hues, be it on land, sea or by air, Lauren creates clothes made for those who live (or aspire to live) an elegant life.

A uniquely sporty long sleeve rugby by Ralph Lauren. Cut from fine jersey, this piece is both softer and more rugged than the average polo shirt.

Some women are addicted to shoes, collecting them like precious art. Others hoard perfume bottles. Lynne Hiriak has a passion for cardigans, with more than 100 variations of the ladylike basic in her closet.

So it made perfect sense this fall when the knitwear designer who has worked for Ralph Lauren and Derek Lam launched a label, Cardigan, that makes nothing else. The sartorial staple rose to fame in the 1950s and has since been beloved by dads, golfers and college profs, not to mention the late Mr. Rogers, who was a spokesman of sorts for the lowly button-front sweater.

For women, the cardigan is one-half of the prim 'n' preppy twin set — a lightweight addition to any outfit and an easy way to polish any look.

"Cardigans are seasonless key items that all women wear unconsciously," Hiriak says.

There are many more affordable styles to choose from. A cardigan is also a noncommittal way to wear color — you'll still be dressed if you decide to shed the hue.

Whether it's hanging in your closet or draped across the back of your office chair, the cardigan is that go-to staple that you can't avoid. Make it count.

Imagine a very glamorous female James Bond who needs to pack something for trekking through the desert, then change for black-tie nights in Dubai.

She'll sneak into the Ralph Lauren store - using an alias, of course - to shop for spring.

There was something fitting about the fact that on the wrap day of Fashion Week. Fluid silks and satins were draped across, around and over models' bodies to create slinky dresses and goddess-like evening gowns.

To anchor these flyaway slips of shimmering fabric, Karan embroidered sea glass, mirrored panels and metallic chain links at the hip, neck or across the hem of a wrap skirt.

Jackets came elongated and had an easy swing - a seductive alternative to the boxy, boy-cut variations on display throughout the week.

Just before the start of Ralph Lauren’s 40th anniversary show, as guests like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and the actors Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman took their seats, there was music from “My Fair Lady.” A tug of Broadway, and then the show began, the music shifting to a faster contemporary beat as the first model stepped out in a white silk gown with a frilly black-edged hem and a wide black straw hat. Masculine coats, satin jodhpurs, trim vests and long polka-dot skirts with romantic white blouses seemed to animate the racecourse painting in the background.

The show, on Saturday night in the Central Park Conservatory Garden, was a vigorous display of Mr. Lauren’s imagination and wit, from the veiled bowlers and snow-white riding boots tipped in black to the long ruffled dresses in pastel garden prints, and the only location that might have better served his purposes than the park would have been Fifth Avenue itself. The clothes, while far from being costumes, had the pomp of an aristocratic parade.

Mr. Lauren could have gone in any number of design directions to mark his 40th anniversary. To Newport, the American West, the Adirondacks. Instead he chose New York, reflecting its energy and sophistication with crisp tailoring, a black leather coat banded in taxi-bright yellow, and a silver chain-beaded gown as cosmopolitan as the Chrysler building.