You know the drill by now. Ralph offers three ranges: Polo is the fast-fashion fix with a dozen little refractions of the young metropolitan male; Black Label is a more upscale, edgier version of city dressing; and Purple Label is the apexLauren deluxe. The comprehensiveness of the vision is always enthralling and, given the size and success of the operation, it's a pleasure to see there is no laurel-resting. This season, for instance, Purple, always dandified in its extreme English-tailored proposition, galloped into flamboyance with eye-poppingly toned sportswear in orange, yellow, leaf green, and cyclamen. The narrow lapels of the suitings nudged against the smaller collars on shirts, which were wrapped around tightly knotted paisley ties of an extravagant four-and-three-quarter-inch width. It's the design house's 40th anniversary, and this was Lauren's way of bringing it all back hometo the tie on which his empire is based. Black Label also took up the cudgels of color, sparking an all-black group with stabs of pink and turquoise.
As ever, Polo offered outfits for a sweep of Central Casting archetypes: sensitive artist, global nomad, eccentric playboy. But even within these previously explored parameters, Lauren found ways to freshen the mix. The artist went a little nautical, for instance, in navies and whites, with an Edwardian edge to stand-up club collars. And a group called Flat Iron played sportswear against tailoring: a sweatpant, for example, with a linen-blend herringbone jacket. But it was perhaps the World Traveler storyline that contained the "Rosebud" moment to the Ralph Lauren saga: It imagined clothes as souvenirs of everywhere you've ever been or anyone you've ever wanted to be. That's Ralph for youa boy with a dream.