Of all the most stylish NBA players, the ones whose pre-game flexes are as well-documented as their moves on the court, Kevin Love is the guy you might think you can actually dress like. You know: the guy who wears suits of charcoal and navy wool, not snakeskin and silk. The one whose idea of a statement accessory is a pair of thick-framed glasses, not rare sneakers or flashy jewelry. In other words: Kevin Love is also the Ralph Lauren guy.
Love found his way into fashion through fantasy: he cites his love of classic film—everything from spaghetti Westerns to the Bond series—as a major inspiration. Even today, as the 31-year-old is being fitted for a Purple Label tuxedo ahead of the label’s Fall 2019 womenswear show in New York—a big, grand, Gatsby-inspired affair—Love is tripping out over the Madison Avenue flagship’s transporting, club-like atmosphere. “It just feels like it's from another, more classic era,” he says as suited tailors work away at his white, double-breasted dinner jacket. “When you’re here, you think of all the actors and entertainers that have stood the test of time. Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Alfred Hitchcock, Winston Churchill…”
Love can easily name every icon whose picture hangs in the store. He also recognizes Mr. Lauren for being a legend in his own right. “You know, only by admitting who you are, knowing who you are, do you get what you want. And [Mr. Lauren] is a perfect example of that, he’s done that for years and years. He's taken risks, but at the end of the day, it's still a hundred percent genuine and true,” Love says in admiration. His relationship with Lauren goes back years—they first bonded over that classic-film obsession—but his appreciation for the brand goes back even further.
Love’s first-ever Ralph Lauren purchase was a “big pony” polo shirt in purple. “When I was in high school, I'd get my Nike sneakers because that's what I needed for basketball. And then I would save up my money to buy Polo, which had extended sizes,” Love recalls. “I'd always do whatever I could to have that polo shirt so I could wear it with my $20 jeans. That was my big go-to. I was one of those hopeless romantics in high school. I wanted to go out and show that I was on my way to becoming a grown-ass man who's wearing Polo. You know, you dress for the man that you want to be.”
Kevin’s collection has since grown to include Olympics Opening Ceremony gear, limited-edition Polo Bear patches and knits, RRL denim, Purple Label suits—the whole world, basically, of RL. “It really wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I really started building my collection of Ralph pieces and stuff that I'll have in 30, 40 years. Sean McDowell, who's my guy at Ralph, he's like, ‘You and one other guy ordered the most Bear attire of anyone’…I have the Martini Bear that I've worn twice now for New Year's. At this point I have a bear sweater for pretty much for every occasion.”
When the suit was finally pinned, while debating black versus white pants, and playing around with some lapel pins sourced his longtime stylist Courtney Mays, Love explains that the white dinner jacket is a “complete departure” for him. “I'm not afraid to take risks. I think maybe earlier on I was, but it's kind of at this point in my career, I'll never do anything that I'm not passionate about or I'm really, really committed to or into, no matter how much somebody's willing to pay me. It's the same thing with what I wear as well. You should dress for the man you want to be, but also, I won't wear anything but I'm not a hundred percent confident and comfortable in. Every Ralph Lauren piece that I pick up, I feel comfortable in.” Love, who will also celebrate his birthday the day of the show ,adds, “I'll stick out like a sore thumb because I'm 6'10" in my shiny dress shoes, but it's going to be a good look.”
Originally Appeared on GQ