Ralph Lauren had a surprise for his guests this morning. Not hot cocoa—although that would have been a nice treat after slogging through Winter Storm Pax to his remote venue. The designer is launching a new Polo collection for women, and he introduced it on his runway today. The first twenty-five looks of the show were Polo label, and it was a diverse offering. After more than four decades in business, Lauren bridges worlds. There were serape blanket coats and distressed leather bombers, a pinstripe suit, athletic outerwear in acid hues, and even what looked like a nod to grunge in the tweedy tailoring he mixed with floral silk dresses and plaid scarves. All recognizably Lauren but with a casual, easy spirit that was unusual for the designer's fashion week runway. Leggings paired with patent Mary Janes and rag wool socks worn with platform sandals reinforced the idea that the new collection is aimed at a young crowd.

The lights dimmed in between the show's first and second acts, but there was no mistaking Polo for the Ralph Lauren portion of this outing, which was as elegant as they come, and the designer's finest work in some time. Even his jogging pants looked refined. This wasn't a collection about loungewear, per se—more than forty years of experience means Lauren can leave the trend-chasing to other designers. However, he did put an emphasis on the tactile pleasures that clothing as fine as his can produce, opting for a soothing monochrome palette of pastels and grays (not unlike at his Pre-Fall collection) and rich materials like cashmere, brushed suede, satin pongee, and Mongolian lamb. Who would say no to a cashmere wrap coat in winter white, with one side slung over the opposite shoulder just so?

That easeful mood carried over from day to evening, where a snug turtleneck paired with a long jersey skirt slit all the way up one leg looked new for Lauren. Silk jersey also found its way onto gowns, although the best look was a little more formal. We'd love to see his pale pink lamé strapless evening dress at the Oscars next month.