Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren’s shows (he traditionally has two, back to back presentations in a gallery space downtown on Hudson Street) are always on the last day of Fashion Week. More often than not, they serve as a wonderful ‘palette cleanser’ of sorts. In the more than 7 days of women’s and menswear runway presentations, there are many trends proposed by designers that come at you full throttle…resulting in sensory overload. But by the week’s end, one can begin to reflect and put into perspective what transpired.

While Ralph may flirt with themes and ‘trends’, injecting a dose of ‘new’ or ‘of the moment’ to keep things fresh, he is after all, ‘above’ that: his name and his label represent a consistently well thought out philosophy that goes to the heart of what he does. And that was very much the case for spring 2007, which was “inspired by a strong, sophisticated woman with eclectic individual style and an exotic, independent spirit.”

His ‘palette cleanser’ this season was exemplified by the very first outfit down the runway. It was not yards of gathered organza, or stretch leggings, or artistic layers, or a short tent shaped dress, but rather a simple black short sleeved cotton polo worn with perfectly cut black cuffed wool pants, black patent open toed high heeled pumps on a modified platform, worn with a straw Panama hat. Timeless, effortless, unfussy, straightforward, and always great! And it spoke volumes.

Black was a major statement and looked just great translated in the kinds of distinctively classic pieces (trench coats, wool or linen and canvas jackets, silk plisse dresses) a woman always needs in her wardrobe, and can always be relied upon to look and feel great. Fabric mixes and plays of sheer off opaque added interest.

The always fresh and appealing combination of graphic black and white was a major statement as well, and showed up in the form of crisp white shirts paired with black linen pants and in one case, it was offhandedly paired with a floor length mermaid skirt in black embroidered cotton tulle, belted with a wide patent leather belt. Proof that certain things never go out of style and always look amazing. There were haberdashery pinstripe linen pantsuits, a bold black and white stripe, and a floral print. Shimmer and shine imbued evening and was seen in the form of beading (which showed up on dresses, pants, and crochet tops); 20’s inspired silver chemise dresses; and a group of antique platinum French lame gowns embroidered with architectural deco motifs.

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