If chic minimalism in Houston ever was questioned, such doubts were erased when Ralph Lauren officially opened its upscale Ralph Lauren boutique at the Galleria in Houston. The new store opened Sept. 13 with a whisper, not a shout — perhaps in deference to world events.

The new Ralph Lauren flagship is a sleek, artfully lit homage to elegance, where the merchandise is display enough and only a clear-glass vase of pine branches concedes to the holiday season.

Everyone wore at least one of this season’s signature statements: head-to-toe black, leather pants in black or chocolate, fox-trimmed ribbed “Maude” sweaters, square-toed boots and vintage crocodile purses.

“I haven’t seen so many leather pants in Houston since we went to the rodeo,” one gent was overheard to say.

But this was no horsy crowd. Only one cowboy hat and not an iota of turquoise or fringe intruded. “Everybody’s looking so black tonight,” said Raquel Segal, among many to adopt the shade for her Ralph Lauren slacks and vintage crock purse. So did Gretchen McFarland of Houston, in a sleek, sleeveless Anne Klein sheath with a spaghetti-thin belt and a matching cardigan tied around her shoulders.

Others were label mix-masters, such as Leigh Anne Roupe in a cream cowl-neck sweater by BCBG, Milly brown leather slacks and Richard Tyler shoes. “They’re from Neiman Marcus on sale,” she confessed. “I always scour the sales racks.”

Others shopped their mothers’ closets instead, judging from the glut of vintage crocodile bags. “I bought mine on e-Bay,” said Janet Melchor, who accompanied it with a fox-trimmed denim jacket, cream shell from Banana Republic and chocolate suede jeans from Express. “Sorry, no Gucci or Prada.”