Ralph Lauren hasn't shown his menswear on a New York runway for over three decades, so it was only right that the mayor (and Jerry Seinfeld and Anderson Cooper) turned out to mark such a prestigious occasion. And Lauren didn't disappoint his high-profile fans. The fast-paced show he laid on was a classic rags-to-riches saga that drew selectively on all of his collections—Polo, RRL, Purple, and Black—to dress Ralph's man on his unstoppable way to the top.

With such a vast repertoire of items to draw from, Lauren was able to give each outfit enormous detail and subtext—if there were 44 looks on the runway, that meant 44 male archetypes. An opening passage of shrunken patchwork tweeds, exhausted chinos, and grommeted jeans, worn with sockless brogues, was the very essence of hobo chic. It surrendered to fiercely tailored flannels and pinstripes, followed by the cowboy styles to which Lauren himself is so partial, with jeans and leathers so lean, mean, and studded they wouldn't have looked out of place on Keith Richards. (The show had launched to the strains of "Sympathy for the Devil.")

That such clothes could share space with the Edwardian gentleman in his glen plaids, or the oligarch on his way to an opera benefit in full white-tie rig, underscored the sheer scope of Lauren's men's empire—as, for that matter, did the presence of his powerful friends.