Nobody knows how to make the American West style of dress look as sophisticated and glamorous as Ralph Lauren. He owns it. Period.
This season, in shades of taupe, cream, chocolate and black, the designer produced a collection of feel-good elegance and faultless fit. We are talking about oodles of cashmere. As cable knit tops, turtlenecks, slim skirts, ponchos and of course shawls. Straight cut pants came in equally comfy leathers, flannels or worsted wool. Even the suede boots and strappy high-heel sandals looked foot-friendly.
The Western references were easy to spot. The Native American-style beadwork on tops, a city slicker three-piece suit cut from black leather and the artisanal handicraft look of all the outerwear were all subtly done.
Actually, it was the deceptive nature of that outerwear which really underlined Lauren’s skills this season. From a distance, or by looking at the images of the show online, neophytes would probably assume that all the trapper hats, pelt ponchos and fuzzy outerwear on the catwalk were crafted out of fur. But as the show notes reveal, the designer has a long-standing commitment to not use fur in his work. What is that saying about how “assume” makes an ass out of “u” and “me”?
Instead, all of those covetable pieces were constructed out of shearling. So guilt-free investment shopping can now be done by all of Lauren’s devoted customers come next season.
This was a collection that did not put a foot wrong. Each ensemble was a nonthreatening, PC beauty. Designed simply to enhance the natural allure of the woman lucky enough to wear it.