Call him Lauren of Arabia. As Ralph Lauren’s global charge continues, his company is set to open a 6,500-square-foot store in Istanbul next month, joining those already operating in Dubai and Kuwait City, and two in Saudi Arabia. On Friday morning he seized the runway moment to celebrate that fact, which proved a savvy choice, and not just because it referenced the house clout — it also made for a beautiful collection.


Lauren set the tone discreetly, his all-white stage set with a single filigreed hanging lamp and an Arabian archway from which the girls exited. While translating the mood to the clothes, he exerted similar control, making judicious use of Philip Treacy turbans and exotic jewelry shown in ample, but not overbearing, doses. Of course, there’s a natural synergy here. What better motif to provide a new way to spin safari? Lauren did so with deceptive bravado: Let’s hear it for tricky pants that worked. They came in any number of ankle-grippers as well as beaded Bermudas and yes, droopy-drawer dhoti pants. He handled them all deftly, in wisely unfettered combinations. He opened with a major gold and bronze story kept ultrarich in dark, provocative tones: a simple cotton shirt over gold sequined pants; a loose-fitting silk blouse that fell into a deep, back-baring cowl over khakis. Otherwise, he stuck to whites and ivories accessorized with some pretty fab leather, crocodile and canvas bags, worn strapped across the torso with utilitarian practicality.
Evening was spectacular, whether in the form of an elaborately textured gold lace tank dress or its antithesis, a plain-Jane gown in bronzy olive gauze. And there was plenty in between, perfect for all sorts of Arabian nights.

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