17 September 2011

NYFW S/S ‘12 Report: Ralph Lauren

Romance was in the air at Ralph Lauren. Maybe he is still on a cloud after his childrens’ summer nuptuals. Or maybe America’s most successful designer just knows that when times are tough, a girl is going to love a little ostrich in her life. Whatever the reason, be it hard headed commercialism or soft hearted romance, this was a quintessentially Ralph Lauren collection and bound to be more money in the bank.

The company may be a commercial giant but that status has been won to a large extent thanks to the sale of staples such as polo shirts and jeans. This season the label has alreday upped its game in accessories showing a collection that has evolved way beyond the supporting role it had existing in the shadow of the clothes. Judging from this morning’s catwalk presentation that initiative is clearly part of a pincer movement with the designer also making a serious bid for more prominent position on the red carpet and the high fashion kudos that comes with that.

The show opened with Gatsby-esque separates in fondant colours: rose pink, pistachio green, lemon yellow and faded florals. Wide trousers and cobweby sweaters were styled with raffia wedges and neat cloche hats. The 20’s and 30’s are a favourite recurring theme in the story line of the blockbuster that is Ralph Lauren’s fashion career. Mannish suits in white or cream satin and dresses that looked like a man’s dress shirt extended to ankle length were for the cocktail hours. But it was the grand gowns, bias cut in creamy slipper satin accessorized with bilowy ostrich jackets and throws or beaded flapper dresses trimmed with whisps of feathers that were the runaway hit.

With the simple addition of some bags and shoes and a closet full of exquisite evening wear this giant is making a bid to become a goliath.

- Paula Reed in New York


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