Dispatches from NYFW

Ralph Lauren satisfies need for immediate gratification at New York Fashion Week

Ralph Lauren satisfies need for immediate gratification at NYFW

Ralph Lauren gown look 32
Ralph Lauren purple jumpsuit, accessorized with a black cowboy hat and belt. Milk Digital
Ralph Lauren fall collection at mansion
Ralph Lauren's 'buy it now' collection has a western edge. Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Jessica Alba, Ralph Lauren, Ricky Lauren
Jessica Alba, Ralph Lauren, Ricky Lauren. Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren gown look 35
Ralph Lauren red one-shoulder gown, accessorized with a black cowboy hat. Milk Digital
Ralph Lauren fall collection at mansion
Model Liya Kebede strolled the runway in a striking, western-themed jacket. Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Kate Bock, Kevin Love at Ralph Lauren runway show
Cleveland Cavaliers player Kevin Love, right, and Kate Bock. Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren gown look 2
Ralph Lauren western shirt, fringe skirt, and silver belt. Milk Digital
Ralph Lauren store window with video horses
Store windows revealed video horses. Photo by Clifford Pugh
Ralph Lauren gown look 38
Ralph Lauren turquoise halter gown with eye-catching necklace. Milk Digital
Ralph Lauren fall collection Houston coat
Ralph Lauren "Houston" embroidered long coat. Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren gown look 22
Ralph Lauren embroidered slacks, blouse, and jacket. Milk Digital
Ralph Lauren gown look 32
Ralph Lauren fall collection at mansion
Jessica Alba, Ralph Lauren, Ricky Lauren
Ralph Lauren gown look 35
Ralph Lauren fall collection at mansion
Kate Bock, Kevin Love at Ralph Lauren runway show
Ralph Lauren gown look 2
Ralph Lauren store window with video horses
Ralph Lauren gown look 38
Ralph Lauren fall collection Houston coat
Ralph Lauren gown look 22

Ralph Lauren always does things in a big way. So when the legendary designer, who traditionally shows on the last morning of New York Fashion Week, decided to create an entirely new fall collection and make it available immediately in stores and online, he knew he couldn't present it in the regular way.

He switched to a nighttime date, convinced New York City officials to close off busy Madison Avenue in front of his flagship store, and built a glass-enclosed jewel box venue to showcase what he dubbed his "September Collection," with the sidewalk as the runway. Famous models, ranging from young Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid to seasoned vets Carolyn Murphy and Stella Tennant, strolled the street in Lauren's creations, before exiting the concrete runway into the store through the front door.

Lauren cut the total number of guests to 400 in back-to-back shows, and after each one was over, such influencers as Jessica Alba, Julianne Moore, and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love entered the store, a historic New York mansion, to sip champagne and shop. "Please go upstairs and look at the collection," Lauren's son, David Lauren, encouraged the crowd.

The collection, which includes 40 looks, plays heavily on the Lauren brand's western heritage, with embroidered cowboy shirts, dresses in Navajo blanket patterns, jackets dripping in fringe, and a long brown suede coat embroidered at the shoulders, dubbed the "Houston" on the Ralph Lauren website.

Several nighttime pieces retain touches of cowboy culture while looking fresh and modern — a black column gown trimmed with studded brown saddle leather at the shoulders and a harness back is a stunner, while a glittery blue evening evening gown features a single brown leather horse bit running along the open back. And even those looks that aren't intrinsically western — like the gowns in popsicle shades that closed the show — were accessorized with black Stetsons and brushed-silver belts.

To mark the end of the runway show, the draped store windows opened to reveal a high-tech video of graceful horses to emphasize the romantic western theme. 

It is Lauren's second fall collection of the season. In February, he showcased an array of luxe looks just arriving in stores now, too, so there's a lot for his clients to choose from when browsing the Ralph Lauren store at Highland Park Village.

If the "see-it-now, buy-it-now" gamble works, Lauren will show spring looks next February that will also be available immediately.