Ralph Lauren’s catwalk shows are, without fail, glamorous. But for his see now, buy now Autumn Winter 2018 collection, the designer rather upped the ante, combining his two loves- fashion and cars.
Guests were driven to Lauren’s private garage in Bedford, New York, an hour outside of Manhattan, where the catwalk was lined with automotive legends from his collection: a silver 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Volante Drop Head Coupe, one of only 10 Ferrari 1967 275 GTB N.A.R.T. Spyders ever built, and a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Drop Head Coupe that is one of just two in existence. Amongst the cars, dashing waiters wearing mechanic’s overalls branded ‘Ralph’s Garage’ served champagne, as the world’s fashion press and Lauren’s VIP guests- Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes amongst them- went into raptures over bodywork.
For those of us not particularly familiar with classic cars, the appeal became clear here: even with their engines off, there is a fluidity, a beauty to them - one that Lauren sought to capture in his flowing dresses and moulded silhouettes. Front row, Diane Keaton sat alongside the designer’s wife of fifty-plus years, Ricky - both wore black Ralph Lauren suits, white shirts, and black ties. A few seats down, daughter Dylan led the applause - and while at most shows, clapping is reserved for the end, here there were spontaneous bursts of it, whenever a particularly striking look was shown - a fully sequined gown garnered the biggest clap.
The cars dictated the palette. There were long tulle dresses with sculpted patent leather busts: Bella Hadid wore the Red. Kendall Jenner wore a full black skirt with a yellow silk bodice. A dress sequined with the number 8 took its design from the grille of a 1920s race car. Classic herringbone and prince of wales checks were repurposed, stamped across satin dresses as well as traditional overcoats. In menswear, leather driving jackets and elevated mechanic’s overalls punctuated the classic tailoring Lauren is so well known for.
At the show’s close, Lauren took his final bow in his own mechanic’s overalls, before leading his guests downstairs, to take their seats for dinner - lobster salad and hamburgers - in a room filled with yet more supercars. This was an intimate glance at the inspirations of a man who has not only survived decades in the industry, but thrived, even shifting to a see-now-buy now format last year. And if the cars are anything to go by, he seems to be doing something right.
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