"Today I am proud to share with you, for the first time ever, my new women's collection right off the runway and into your lives," wrote Ralph Lauren in his show notes. "You are changing the way you live and the way you want to shop, and we are changing with you and for you." Only having announced his decision to jump on the runway-to-retail bandwagon a matter of days before, it felt a momentous occasion; never mind the fact that the entire block the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship store is situated on was shut down to stage the show.
In front of a star-studded front row that included Julianne Moore, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba and the designer’s wife and muse, Ricky Lauren, models swapped the catwalk for the sidewalk in a series of looks that saw Western references – buffalo-check shirts, suede fringing, embroidery and Stetsons included – played out in a decidedly glamorous way for day; "I have always been inspired by the rugged beauty and romance of the American West," the designer explained.
And those who have enjoyed the brand’s successes in the eveningwear department over the past few seasons won’t be disappointed either, for Navajo fabrics gave way to a final line-up of silk and sequins in paintbox-brilliant hues – all of which were available to buy immediately after the designer took his bow, much to the showgoers’ delight.
The Ralph Lauren AW16 collection, presented on Thursday 18th February 2016
While daywear has always been expertly executed by Mr Ralph Lauren and his team, it has been the eveningwear that has upped its game recently, beginning with Spring/Summer 2016's parade of striped gowns in bright cobalt and fresh white. This season the designer issued a series of gowns that are sure to shake off velvet's reputation as a stuffy fabric. Appearing in matte black on model Lineisy Montero and carrying on in claret, marine and amethyst, these were slinky numbers with spaghetti straps, plunging necklines and even pleating for a hyper-modern take on an old classic.
The fabric continued elsewhere – on long-sleeved dresses, poet jackets and a bustier top. Metallics also featured in eveningwear, as a one-shoulder organza gown and the finale look, a gold ball skirt that was teamed with a simple, super-chic black polo neck – very Ralph.
Daywear comprised of cashmere knits in shades of olive, mink and chocolate, wide-leg, high-waisted trousers, tartan capes, fringed motorcycle jackets and brocade suits.