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Cuteness and commerce merged at the Ralph Lauren girls’ fashion show in sun-dappled Sagaponack, N.Y., on Monday. A group of glamorous mothers, including Jessica Alba, Christie Brinkley, Edie Falco, Tiffani Thiessen, Cristina Cuomo, Katharine Ross, Minnie Mortimer, Kelly Bensimon and Zoya Loeb gathered on the landscaped grounds of Wölffer Estate Stables with their young children, many of them decked out in Ralph Lauren, to predictably adorable effect.
“I’m a fan of Ralph and I thought it would be fun to do something like this,” said Alba, who helped welcome guests to the event with a brief speech before the runway show. Her own two young daughters, Honor and Haven, were dressed in matching Ralph Lauren nautical seersucker dresses and white Mary Janes as they happily explored the hay-strewn stables with horses peeking out of stalls.
Alba has been archiving some of her own designer duds for her daughters — but she has some doubts about saving the clothes until they’re grown up. “I’m quickly thinking that it really doesn’t matter. Whatever I have at the moment, they’re just going to have to like,” she reasoned, with a laugh.
Brinkley’s 15-year-old daughter, Sailor, who just booked her first modeling campaign posing for Claire’s, said her mother has been helpful in that “she can give me pointers on what to do and what not to do.” Brinkley quickly quipped, “And she can not listen.” Apparently megamodel moms merit the same ’tude from teenagers as regular moms.
Apart from the fashions on display, Ali Wentworth’s daughters, Elliott and Harper Stephanopoulos, were checking out the equestrian complex, as they enjoy riding. Their father, George Stephanopoulos, was off golfing at a nearby course and Ali and Elliott got into a slight disagreement over his skills on the links. “He’s just starting to get into it,” confided Wentworth.
The fashion show itself featured a crew of preciously poised girls, who walked a long runway through a stable, the audience perched on hay bales. A faint hint of manure in the distance gave the equestrian-themed collection a whiff of equine verité. Guests cheered every colorful look, with the collection heavy on signatures like velvet blazers, tweed suits, sweaters in cable knit or Fair Isle patterns, vividly hued colored denim, down vests and peasant dresses. The Mika song “Popular Song” aptly played on the soundtrack as the deftly styled kids enthusiastically worked the runway.
“It’s a take down of our women’s Collection and Blue Label lines,” explained David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and communications at Ralph Lauren Corp. of the sophisticated children’s wear looks. “My father has always wanted to dress children the way he would dress adults and it’s always been part of the magic of the brand.”
A video of the show, with lots of backstage footage, will make its debut on both ralphlauren.com and saksfifthavenue.com on Sept. 5. “It’s what we call merch-entainment,” added Lauren of the online package. “It brings the show to life. Mothers and kids can watch it together.”
Following the show, all the children were treated to an after party with hair-braiding stations, nail art from Essie, a Dylan’s Candy Bar stand and a performance from 14-year-old singer Madison Beer, who Justin Bieber has already tweeted as an up-and-coming star.
Dylan Lauren, founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar, remembered modeling in her father’s first children’s show when she was six years old — and which also showcased a young Jennifer Connelly. “I was very nervous to walk down the runway so I empathize with some of these girls. But it was my dad and I felt special to be included in it,” she recalled, “so this is very nostalgic for me.”