After a long time so true With months of shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, you’d think the last thing the fashion crowd would want to do is hit another runway in mid-October. And generally speaking, you would be right. But Ralph Lauren’s spring 2023 show Thursday in California — aptly dubbed a “special fashion experience” by the brand — felt more like a reward than work. A week ago, I was a burnt, jet-lagged husk of a man; But on Thursday night, I was living my best life with Jello.
No expense was spared for Ralph Lauren’s first West Coast show, and every detail felt like a little pampering: a private car service to the venue—the stunning, sprawling Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens outside of Los Angeles. sunset cocktail hour on the beautiful patio; Sylvester Stallone enjoying the view with his family; Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher air kiss John Legend; Diane Keaton comparing clothes to Chris Pine; And, just before the show started, Jennifer Lopez (a recent wedding client) and Ben Affleck squeezed in between Keaton and Jessica Chastain in the front row.
Everything was maintaining the reputation that Ralph Lauren had established in the pre-Covid years. From the spring 2019 50th-anniversary blowout in Central Park, which was held in the designer’s own garage in September 2017, to the 2019 intimate black-tie affair, the brand has been regularizing “exclusive fashion experiences.” And after a pandemic-ordered hiatus, the MoMA show in New York returns for fall 2022. But Thursday’s incident blew them all out of the water. The members of the brand team celebrated the 50th anniversary – and it was not Only Because of the A-list audience or the beautiful location: the collection itself (more than 100 Ralph Lauren collections, Purple Label, Double RL, Polo Ralph Lauren and children’s clothing labels) represents everything the brand does best.
The show kicked off with Southwest-inspired daywear with super-cool rubber boots and silver belts and jewelry, effortlessly preppy linen tailoring and lightweight knitwear—all of which looked right at home in Southern California. Subtle nautical pieces in red, navy and white create a “beachy glam” room with a casual aesthetic.
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Polo’s offering includes the brand’s more relaxed, skateboard-ready collegiate prep, as well as colorful contemporary gorpcore reminiscent of Ralph Lauren’s late ’90s. And then there’s children’s clothing: it’s impossible to be negative about a show that includes toddlers walking down cute little fashion runways — it might feel unfair and ridiculous if it’s not on brand for family-oriented Ralph. Finally, Lauren glowed in an understated-but-glamorous ensemble evening gown, for an instantly recognizable red carpet moment.
Immediately following the show was an immaculate seated dinner for all attendees at the Polo Bar (who else?), with most guests opting for giant, bacon-laden burgers – served in syncopated style by an endless line-up of Ralph Lauren-clad men. Servants.
From start to finish, despite such a great show, the vibe wasn’t monotonous or scary. Civility was still relaxed, with A-listers mingling comfortably with reporters, editors, clients and TikTokers to encompass the rest of the population, as if we were all somehow on the same level. (Except Bennifer – they left after the show.)
This was an amazing, if over-the-top, production and Lauren – who turns 83 on Friday – is more than a star design; It is an institution that defies time, trends and financial constraints, time and time again. To be honest, for the lesser-loved designer, my interpretation of such a vague vulgarity might be more critical, but if you’re lucky enough to get the chance, you’ll just want to learn the magic of Ralph Lauren, especially after a few weeks.
Check out the full Ralph Lauren Spring 2023 collection in the gallery below.
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