David Lauren, Ralph Lauren

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Photograph by Frank Veronsky

As indoctrinated shoppers know, setting foot inside a Polo Ralph Lauren retail store is a bit like getting invited to one of Jay Gatsby’s parties, minus the gin. Persian rugs, varnished mahogany paneling, gilt-framed oils of thoroughbred horses—it’s all part of Ralph’s world, an ivy-covered, Polo-scented sanctum where the cuffs are monogrammed and the latest fashion is tradition.

Which is why some did a double take three years ago, when select stores in New York and London cleared the baronial trappings from the front windows to make room for interactive touch screens—67-inch projections that invited passersby to browse the collections simply by pressing their fingers to the glass.

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