Maybe it was just coincidence that Ralph Lauren chose to show his Fall collection in Manhattan’s Chelsea area, in a light-filled art gallery with rustic bleachers and exposed beams. Ever the Anglophile, Lauren’s collection was full of references to the other Chelsea, in London, where the rich and bohemian have thrived for decades.
With early Bob Dylan and Rolling Stones setting a retro-counterculture mood, Lauren sent out elegantly tailored pieces that underscored his ability to transpose menswear into a feminine key. He cut trim little jackets and slim pants from mossy tweeds, and made nut-brown suede into cool motorcycle jackets worn over fluttering satin skirts. A nod to dandyism showed through in a green plaid overcoat worn with a velvet shirt and tie, and plummy velvet suits—perfect for the modern-day bluestocking. For evening, Lauren went full-on feminine, via a series of icy-cool pieces touched with silvery beading. His white charmeuse top over black velvet leggings is just the thing for a chic dinner party, while a night out on the town (or on the red carpet) demands one of his snowy white satin columns—topped with a suitably funky black motocross jacket.