Each season, Ralph Lauren transports customers and admirers to an exotic locale — 1920s China, Downton Abbey and the American West have provided inspiration for the iconic designer's recent collections.
The chandeliers over the runway for his latest show at New York Fashion Week were covered in beige mosquito netting, offering a hint of what was in store. For spring 2015, Lauren visits Africa, with a glamorous collection for a high-end safari or "glamping" holiday, featuring bright colors mixed in with the traditional olive, sage and tan shades more commonly associated with an outdoor outing.
"No matter what theme that it takes each season, whether it's Western or African, you know it's Ralph Lauren," said longtime fashion critic Marylou Luther.
Lauren opened with a model in crisp khaki cargo pants and a fluttering sari-like silk top in a deep amethyst shade. The mix of colors permeated the collection as deep greens and khaki colors were accented with bright pieces such as jackets and outback trenches in bright lemon, a vest in deep purple, and safari jacket in a red-orange "poppy" shade.
The bright colors carried into evening looks, with tulle evening gowns in the same electric shades of purple, yellow and red. However, there were some more muted shades; the closing look was a sweeping sage green taffeta gown. The dresses were colorful yet simple — perfect for accessorizing with big bib necklaces in jewel tones or glittering crystals.
Although the African theme is evident, Lauren's look is never costume-y. Take away the safari hats and the pieces fit nicely into a modern wardrobe. Despite his themes, Lauren's clothes are always classic and will carry through several seasons.
And don't forget about the accessories — messenger bags in orange calfskin, a black alligator duffel bag, an olive envelope clutch, python peep-toe platform sandals, and olive and gold wedges — that carefully accent each look.
"No matter what theme that it takes each season, whether it's Western or African, you know it's Ralph Lauren. He just has a look that is his own. It's remarkable," said longtime fashion critic Marylou Luther, editor of the International Fashion Syndicate.
On the front row was actress Julianne Moore, who is getting a lot of early Oscar buzz for her roles in two movies: Still Alice, where she portrays a college professor dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and Maps to the Stars, where she plays a fading B-list Hollywood actress. She sat with the Lauren family, including the designer's wife, Ricky, son David, and David's wife Lauren Bush Lauren.