In his first show since 2019, Ralph Lauren transformed a long room at the Museum of Modern Art into a cozy salon Tuesday night to debut a moneyed collection of mostly black and white for men and women.
His models, including Gigi and Bella Hadid, meandered through guests seated on couches and black easy chairs wearing classic tailored white trousers and jackets, cocktail attire and slinky, sequined evening dresses. There were pops of black leather, pinstripes, and plaid in red and black, with a smattering of elevated riding gear and ski-inspired Nordic knits.
The show of opulence for his fall/winter Women's Collection, an upscale line, and his latest for the high-end Purple Label for men was conceived months before war broke out in Ukraine, Lauren acknowledged in his notes. At the time, he said, “The tragedy and devastation we are witnessing now was unthinkable.”
Guests were asked to dress in cocktail attire, sipping Champagne and nibbling hors d’oeuvre as Jessica Chastain, Henry Golding, Janelle Monáe, Mayor Eric Adams (in a hand-painted overcoat) and other notables had their pictures snapped by an unusually small contingent of photographers.
Monáe performed the last time Lauren showed in September 2019 during New York Fashion Week, turning a Wall Street space into a jazzy nightclub of yesteryear. This time, he skipped frenetic fashion week in February and went off-calendar instead. He had intimate togetherness on his mind after his pandemic break, paring down his crowd and going for a relaxed vibe amid coffee tables appointed with stacked books and objets d’art.
“This moment means a lot to me because it also marks my return back to New York. I haven’t been in New York since the last show, so it’s an honor to be here again,” Monáe, a guest rather than a singer this time around, told The Associated Press.
Gigi opened the show in black trousers and a black V-neck sweater emblazoned with the “RL” logo over a white button up. Her sister walked in a form-hugging white evening gown with a cut out neck and back.
One of Lauren's evening dresses, in black, was adorned with a New York City skyline in silver at the hem. Many of his models wore two-tone “spectator” shoes in contrasting black and white. Think F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age.
Golding was also on hand for Lauren's 2019 show. “It’s good to see people’s faces, like the world moved on, and I think it’s about time,” he told the AP.
Adams, mayor since January, sported a black coat with a yellow panel on one side painted with African masks, a miniature of himself and a tiny New York street sign.
“This is the new mayor wardrobe in New York,” he joked. “Our city is back. This is the fashion capital.”
At the end of the show, after the finale walk for his models, the 82-year-old Lauren emerged from behind an elevated entrance platform and waved, lingering for a moment to take it all in.
“So, in the midst of this sadness, we go forward united in our hope for peace, and our hope for the end of this pandemic and a return to being together,” he said in his notes. “I am so proud to be with you again sharing not only a collection, but an optimism for living that respects the dignity of all.”