RALPH Lauren celebrates its 50th anniversary by hosting a digital installation, a drinks party, an unforgettable fashion show and then a gala dinner against the backdrop of the Bethesda terrace fountain in Manhattan’s Central Park – reference to the designer’s hometown of New York.
Travel back to 1967, Ralph Lauren launched his eponymous label when he was 28 years old. The brand began just selling ties for men, before creating the Polo menswear section in 1968 and two years later introducing womenswear. Fifty years on, his vision of the classic American woman and man has become iconic and a widely-celebrated clothing version of the now global American dream
The show began with Paul Simon’s New York Is My Home, a fitting title for the all-American show. Though it was retrospective of the brand’s 50 years, it looked to the future too. This was reflected in his choice of models, from the classic Ralph Lauren models like Caroline Winberg, Lisa Winkler and Taylor Hill, to the younger generation of the kids who were accompanied down the runway in multi-cultural twos or threes, hinting at the diversity of American and his contemporary vision.
The runway show was split into two parts. The first section featured an array of western-inspired looks. Fur patchwork cape with feathers was accompanied with velvet skinny trousers, baggy v-neck knit jumpers on top of silk floor length skirts, velvet evening gowns and thick wool three-piece tailored suits for men were seen down the runway. The eclectic mixture of different fabrics layered on top of each other and simultaneously drawing from different side of the brand, from the Ralph Lauren Collection, Polo Ralph Lauren and Double RL ensured a level of completeness in terms of celebrating the brand’s history.
The second part of the runway show was family orientated. In duos and trios, a cultural mix of models walked down in more casual and relaxed looks. The commercial Polo line shown through here with baseball jackets and embroidered jeans, camouflage patterned trousers worn with a blazer, trousers were tucked into socks to show the leather loafers – sportswear pieces were mixed with more formal attire.
’The guest list to this event was akin to that of the annual Met Gala. From Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Tony Bennett to Priyanka Chopra, Ansel Elgort and Blake Lively to fashion royalty of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Anna Wintour all rising to their feet with applause in admiration as Mr Lauren came out at the end of the show
Instead of magnifying this milestone, he instead ensured authenticity was the key to this event. The brand has never steered too far from its core, and that is maybe where the success to its longevity lies.
by Imogen Clark