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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Ralph Lauren: A Patrician Life

Clothes to dream of a more leisurely world

19 Февраля 2016

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Horsey, tweedy plaids and a cashmere cardigan kicked off the Ralph Lauren show and placed it firmly in the country - or in the lives of women who dream of leaving the city for the Hamptons. So what was new for Ralph Lauren, whose New England WASP world does not seem to change much, however multi-cultural his country becomes?

The designer played down the materials and the colours: the opening outfits that he described as taupe, I would call mud-puddle beige; a herringbone trouser suit hardly registered as a pattern. No silken scarves or twinkly gems broke the autumnal stillness.

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Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


“I wanted it to be quiet, downplayed,” said Ralph, wearing himself a well-worn tweed jacket with his jeans, while Sienna Miller, in a slender black dress, raved over a slim ruby velvet gown. That was the other side of the show: clothes for the rich patrician nightlife, when Snow White cotton frothed at the neck of a black trouser suit and richly embroidered dresses swept out, jewels sparking at the neck, a bag with a regal Ralph crest on the front. Skinny jeans for night-time parties were coated in silver lamé.

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Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


Does it matter that only a sprinkling of people live this casual-day/starry-night life? It would be perfectly possible to wear a herringbone coat or well-tailored culottes into the office. Cute ankle boots are for everyone. Yet there is an intellectual disconnect between these dreamy figures, out of any modern time or space, and the urgency of everyday, digitally crazy, smartphone-intruding lives.

Can Ralph Lauren go on dreaming his dream? Why not? But his show lacked the urgency of modernity, however lovely individual pieces might have been.

Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Ralph Lauren, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

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