Effortless elegance at Ralph Lauren's runway café
The Ralph Lauren flagship on Madison Avenue was transformed into the chic Ralph’s Café for the presentation of the house's Spring 2019 womenswear collection, combining a luxe Paris-style breakfast with a soft and elegant runway show.
Packed with smiling waiters, elegant café tables and individual gleaming trays of mini-pastries, the warmly lit boutique-turned-breakfast-salon gleamed gold and white, creating an immediate feeling of intimacy and warmth as if Lauren himself had invited you over for a sneak peak at his latest work. Concise menus offered attendees – including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kathryn Newton, Annabelle Wallis, Zazie Beetz, Camilla Belle and Karlie Kloss – a selection of coffees, teas, juices, and light morning dishes.
Once the audience was comfortably caffeinated and fed, gentle music played as models began to gracefully sashay down the boutique's hallways and around tables. With songs that crooned about Paris, romance and sweet nothings, the models themselves seemed to be holding onto a playful secret, quietly admiring themselves in the store's mirrored walls.
A perfect match to the surroundings, the collection's looks also glowed: gold, white and black dominated pieces meant to focus on the "purity of design in unexpected silhouettes," the label explained in a press statement.
Black dresses and suits with gold foil prints were followed by fluttering skirts, billowing pants and a striking leather jacket, all of which featured a large, white flower print. Crisp white wide-leg trousers kept the brand’s signature preppy sophistication alive with a new, youthful twist when paired with a black crop top and a gold-trimmed duffel coat.
Particularly dazzling pieces included a pleated, spaghetti-strap dress in full shimmering gold worn by Bella Hadid, a black v-neck sweater covered in sequins and gold detailing, an athletic streetwear-esque gold jacket paired with black jogger-style trousers and a long black sequined polo shirt-dress. The show concluded with a decadent floor-length leathery black gown under a high-neck metallic gold cape.
Complementing the many fluid and eye-popping looks were a range accessories, from patent and specchio leather belts and sculptural gold statement jewelry to stilettos and lug-sole wedge sandals.
In addition to presenting new iterations of the label’s signature Ricky bag, the show also served as the debut of the RL50 handbag, inspired by Lauren's own vintage travel bag. Available in mini, medium, large and oversized, the handbag model is made from materials like calfskin, Ayers snakeskin, alligator and ostrich, and will be available exclusively at select Ralph Lauren global flagships this month. The label has also planned limited releases of the bag on ralphlauren.com as well as a range of exclusive wholesale partnerships in the future.
The show comes on the heels of the house's recently reported better-than-expected holiday quarter sales, which continue the progress seen by the company as it pushes forward with the execution of a strategy involving a dramatically intensified focus on marketing via social media.
According to the company, the increased investments in marketing of this kind have been made with an eye to winning over high-spending millennials and this latest collection's flashier, more youthful garments and accessories look to be targeting the same audience.
As Lauren emerged at the show’s close for a breezy turn around the boutique's center, it became clear that his latest season was more than ever a reflection of the designer himself: charming, easygoing, elegant and delightful.
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