By Louise J Esterhazy
Illustration by Gary Hovland
People don’t believe it, but things do happen in the mountains.
On a spring day, I sat out on my deck in this village, looking at the green, green mountains glowing with buttercups; the sapphire blue sky; and the cows, bells rhythmically clanging, roaming up into the Alps. I stared at the prunus trees, their pale pink blossoms floating in the air like snowflakes.
I was just dozing off, ready for a little nap, when the telephone rang. One of my merchant friends had called to inform me that Ralph Lauren was opening a boutique in Gstaad, in a space currently occupied by the shop Les Amis. Willing to do anything to chase a juicy rumor, I rushed down the hill to the pedestrian-only Promenade, the village’s main street, to see the three-story site. And what a sight. On top of the future Ralph Lauren store is a church steeple. I thought, Are they going to ring the bells to bring in customers? It turns out the belfry is mere decoration.
As I wandered along, I mulled over the meaning of Mr. Lauren’s arrival. First of all, he’s going to face formidable competition. In this village of 3,000 year-round inhabitants, there are stores where Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Moncler, Hermès, Lacoste, Cartier, Chopard, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin, to name just a few, can be purchased. The famed boutique Lorenz Bach already carries Ralph Lauren.
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