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Ralph Lauren: Fringe Society

Renata Espinosa
September 17th, 2010 @ 12:12 AM - New York

On his various cross-country journeys through Americana for the past 40 years or so, Ralph Lauren has been a frequent visitor to the West and its suede fringed mythology. Lauren revisited that territory again for the spring 2011 collection, which he showed in New York on Thursday, Sept. 16.

From leather fringed jackets like the one his wife Ricky wore to the show, to high necked lace blouses, romantic poetess cotton shirts and floral prints on cotton gowns that would look perfectly at home in a Laura Ashley wallpapered country kitchen, it was luxe Western wear for the city woman with a summer home in Santa Fe.

While her multi-million dollar adobe home might be hundreds of miles away from an actual working ranch, Lauren’s wardrobe for her was ranch-inspired, like a sutured deer skin suit or a rodeo girl silver beaded fringe skirt. Many looks were finished off with thick leather belts with silver belt buckles—maybe not as big as your head, but big enough—and also accessorized with hobo sacks made from antique Navajo rugs.

Though he does this Western wear for weekenders look well, and the clothes are always executed beautifully—if any American designer is going to do it, might as well be someone as practiced as Ralph Lauren—but there was also something a little kitsch about all that fringe. Practice makes perfect, but sometimes, it’s perfectly uninspiring.

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