In retrospect, it seems odd that it took until the last day of theNew York collections for “Downton Abbey” to hit the runway. But then,who better to work that motif than Ralph Lauren, whose multifacetedaesthetic has one plain deeply entrenched in the charms of Englishcountry life?


Lauren set the refined retro mood with an aged parquet floor, hismodels emerging from an immense, exquisitely carved dark wood doorframe to the strains of the television series’ theme. He opened withcasually elegant men’s wear looks all in mixes of the earthen tweeds,plaids and checks that he loves. In a season of major fabric awareness,his combinations felt natural and uncontrived. While the styling playedto the Downton nattiness, the pieces were utterly versatile; witness thefact that a leather motorcycle jacket felt as right in the mix as anatty spencer. As for the coats — fabulous, in a range from herringbonesand plaids to ocelot-printed shearling. Wisely, Lauren didn’t stay inthe manor too long, and if one wished he’d also pilfered the ladies’closets more overtly by day, there were still good things to come.

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