Sitting in a deluxe meeting room in an office in midtown Manhattan, David Lauren, an executive vice president of the Ralph Lauren Corp. and second son of the famous designer, does something you wouldn’t expect of a fashion executive: he reveals that the elegant suit he has on—double-breasted and wide-lapelled in navy-blue wool, worn with a pin-dotted tie—is in fact 20 years old. He’s not begging for a raise or showing off his thrift. He is demonstrating a truth about this moment in world culture: that the old is new and the new looks old and there’s no need to choose between them—and that his company is on the crest of this cultural wave. The suit was designed by his father, and any wear that it’s showing after all these years is like “the patina of a great pickup truck,” he says, since the brand “is always rooted in the classics—it’s about history.”
Ambitious and energetic, Shanghai more than merits the nickname Shang Kong. But the mainland city is co-opting more than just the colonial hub’s commercial savvy. Businessmen here are aping their Cantonese counterparts by keeping a bevy of on-demand girlfriends and paying their bills in exchange for their love and loyalty. Welcome to Shanghai’s newest neighborhood: Mistressville.