NEW YORK — As hurricane-caliber winds hurled pellet-sized snowflakes toward my face and body on one of the worst mornings in the East Coast's longest winter, I thought to myself, "If it were any fashion show except Ralph Lauren, I would have stayed in bed."
But like the U.S. Postal Service, I wasn't going to let miserable weather keep me from my appointed mission.
Lauren always puts the finishing touches on fashion week with an elegant collection that sends you out feeling that American fashion is in good hands. His runway show in a jewel box-size venue is intimate (he does three back-to-back showings to keep the audience at each one manageable) and luxurious, with glittering chandeliers overlooking the catwalk and icy models in impeccably-tailored clothing that exemplifies lifestyles of the rich and aspirational.
One inside the cozy confines of Laurenland, all was perfect — especially because the designer had a surprise in store with two runway shows in one.
So what's a little snow and ice to get in the way?
One inside the cozy confines of Laurenland, all was perfect — especially because the designer had a surprise in store with two runway shows in one. He is adding a new Polo Ralph Lauren collection for women in the fall (he's featured the successful men's Polo collection for quite a while), so he gave the fashion press a sneak preview with 25 looks.
The collection, which features more moderately-priced clothing, runs the gamut of Lauren's greatest hits. It features western styles (fringe jackets, blanket-pattern dresses, serape cardigans), a salute to grunge (a floral dress paired with brown wool blazer, leggings and clog sandals), sherbet-colored cardigans, patchwork moto jackets and a menswear-inspired pinstripe suit with plaid flannel shirt.
Maybe the customer won't buy this head-to-toe Lauren look, but there are plenty of separates to accent any woman's current wardrobe.
The Ralph Lauren Collection that followed offers more elegant attire for a more affluent woman. Colors are muted — shades of mauve, grey and winter white predominate — and fabrics are luxurious. Even cashmere jogging pants and creme suede high-top sneakers take on a refined tone when paired with a pink tuxedo jacket or cashmere turtleneck.
The collection also includes largely unadorned silk and jersey gowns, which substitute intricate draping, trains and capes for beading and embellishments to create the "wow" factor.
Swathed in cashmere capes and ponchos, with over-the-knee kid suede boots, a woman can brave the elements looking like a fashion plate.
I'd just hate to see her in a snowstorm.