Ralph Lauren loves his classics, and loves turning them into a sartorial challenge. “Camel hair can be very boring,” he said during a walk-through of his pre-fall collection, his models strolling past in any number of chic camel-centric looks. “How do you make it exciting?”
His solution was to go for “total luxury, but simplicity and fashion,” the first two delivered in mostly languid looks integrating impressive knitwear with elegant tailoring and the third via intense focus on texture in a range of smart, often inventive combinations. These could be minimal — a big cashmere tunic sweater spliced with suede from shoulder to wrist — or far more intricate. Case in point: a Mongolian lamb vest, its ample collar faced in lace, worn over a divine cardigan and whisper-thin chiffon dress embellished with beading. The look achieved a knock-out fusion of rugged and refined.
Throughout, fringing made for a mini leitmotif, swinging sometimes artisanal — in long, double-layer trim on an alluring macramé dress — and others, more Sante Fe, in suede and leather detail on jackets, down the side of cashmere sweats and on numerous impressive handbags. Yet Lauren rejected the straight-forward reference. “It’s got a native sensibility,” he said. “And it’s got a Madison Avenue look.”