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Ralph Lauren’s Dark Classicism

Godfrey Deeny
February 18th, 2010 @ 11:50 AM - New York

Leave it to Ralph Lauren to best capture the mood of New York, with a darkly classic fall 2010 collection on Thursday, Feb. 18, where even the floral prints seemed photographed at night.

Somber, serious yet ultimately très chic, this was in large part a restatement of Lauren’s patrician cannon, with the most solemn palette in Manhattan – olive, Bordeaux, slate, moss and espresso.

These were very much comfort clothes, and all the better for it – with lots of muddy georgette silk blouses in muddy hues, worn under a score of herring bone frock coats, Chesterfields and cutaway jackets.

Lauren also tapped into a huge trend in New York, the revival of velvet, showing antique velvet jackets in amethyst and a series of great jodhpurs in a mossy green or faded brown. Though, these were jodhpurs with a twist, lovingly cut and finished at the ankle with studs.

His sharpest look was a brown cashmere coat, hand knitted to give it a luxurious softness, worn by Polish beauty Magdalena Frackowiak over slim boyish trousers, that the program notes described as “newsboy pants.”

And, in a formal, and rather proper, New York season it seemed right that there was a sensitively Edwardian feeling to this show, from the cropped romantic jackets to the beaded gowns that wafted by in the finale.

Adding to the sense of haute gamme tradition, the catwalk in the lower Manhattan art gallery where the show was staged was the cut stone sort one would expect to see in a Tuscan duke’s palazzo. Over it all hung three huge black glass chandeliers.

Running through the show were a series of equestrian style belts, with the kind of buckles one is more likely to find at a show jumping event than on a runway, though the collection was all the better for it. The designer took his, charmingly self-indulgent bow, dressed head to toe in black, wearing one these belts himself.

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