NEW YORK — No once does the English countryside look better than Ralph Lauren, so it came as no surprise that America's iconic designer looked to the PBS blockbuster hit, Downton Abbey, for his fall 2012 collection.
Music from the British soap opera, which ends its second season on Channel 8 Sunday night, wafted through the intimate studio as models came out through a carved dark wood entrance and walked down a runway parquet floor with massive chandeliers overhead.
While the female characters in Abbey, which is set in pre- and post-World War I England, aren't quite ready to wear pants, we can imagine the rebellious Lady Sybil adopting the look in future episodes.
The first third of the Lauren show featured tailored menswear looks that the designer does best. Models appeared in three-piece suits, with button-down shirts and contrasting white collars, houndstooth coats, Fair Isle sweaters and plaid jodhpurs, accessorized with top hats and bowlers. While the female characters in Abbey, which is set in pre- and post-World War I England, aren't quite ready to wear pants, we can imagine the rebellious Lady Sybil adopting the look in future episodes.
Eveningwear had a tingle of the roaring '20s art deco influence, particularly in the closing look, a wavy all-gold gown. Other nifty nightime looks included black evening gowns with jeweled collars, evening pants with jackets trimmed in gold, and a black-and-gold ostrich feather cape.
While such obvious references to the past were evident, Lauren created looks that feel modern and fresh. He included some nifty cropped motorcycle jackets and paneled leather skirts that added a dash of pizzazz.
Lauren, who has often appeared at the end of previous shows in jeans and a casual shirt, dressed in a three-piece gray suit with matching tie when he made his runway bow. With such an uptown Downton collection, it seemed appropriate that he dressed for the occasion.
View the Ralph Lauren fall 2012 collection: