Pale turquoise suede blouse rippling, chunky red beading necklace around her neck, model Toni Garn sizzled across the catwalk as she opened Ralph Lauren's show in New York on Thursday, Sept. 13.
In a fervid display of Andalusia chic, Lauren sent out short gaucho jackets, fringed ponchos, curvaceous Spanish riding breeches, winning a standing ovation at the finale of this show, a spring 2013 collection staged in a downtown Manhattan art gallery.
"When we first started talking about this collection, I immediately began seeing frills, flamenco and color. It's a pretty big switch from Downton Abbey, but I think it worked," Lauren told FWD, referring to his previous fall 2012 collection, inspired by the hit TV show.
Yet even these two worlds are eons apart, the patrician Lauren DNA also rippled through every look in both shows. Take the bolero jackets, this season created in the finest tooled suede, in shades like tomato and teal, and finished with delicate baroque cut-out leather trim. All perfect for the hacienda, yet super easy to wear in many social situations. While for evening, lace bustier dresses or tulle beaded blouses over extended floor-sweeping skirts looked ideal for a modernist Flamenco dance; yet again perfect for a Michelin two-star New York restaurant.
And Lauren saved his best for the finale - a gold braid toreador's jacket over a deliciously well-cut black-layered organza dress - terribly contemporary barefoot contessa.
Though a tad too restrained, and perhaps lacking in the bravura one expects in the greatest of Lauren shows, this was a gilt-edged collection, the latest reminder that Lauren's brand is the classiest act in American fashion. He sure merited his standing ovation.