Ralph Lauren’s world is an interesting place. A beautiful place of course, but plenty inclusive, at least to those who wear gentility and optimism as badges of honor. With the growth of Polo Women’s, Lauren has expanded his already vast turf. While he prefers not to ghettoize collections by age, Polo pulses with an engaging young spirit, one the designer heralds as cool — and indeed it is.
To highlight his particular integration of refinement and cool, Lauren showed the collection in the roof garden atop The McKittrick Hotel, site of the famed offbeat-edgy theater piece “Sleep No More.” His models — mostly young women, though with a few great-looking guys in attendance to make the party setting more real — looked fresh and chic. Determined to focus on the breadth of Polo, Lauren showed several diverse groups. That said, whether because of the season or to avoid stating the obvious, this time around he ignored the collegiate plaids and vintage-y wallpaper florals associated with the brand and instead focused on polished day wear. Flamboyant florals mixed with shirting stripes had a touch of Connecticut sportif and looked especially engaging when the posy print repeated from dress or pants to handbag. Conversely, tony denim swung citified. “We all know about ripped jeans,” Lauren said. “This shows the versatility that denim can have. Couture-esque, if that’s a word.”
Why not? Inherent in that Ralph-coined word: an affinity for dresses. While Lauren is a genius at chic juxtaposition via separates, and here showed plenty, for spring and summer he loves a pretty girl in a pretty dress — but hold the black, please. “Having dresses that are not only black is important,” he said. “This is about how not to look clichéd, but use color for sophistication.”