Although Ralph Lauren is a famed American sportswear designer, he decided to look across the pond for inspiration for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection. By mining the depths of Britain’s most influential styles, he arrived at a two-fold conclusion for the season: polished high-society looks conveyed by relaxed daywear ideal for a day in the countryside, and Lord Byron-esque dandyism that melded glam rock essentials with slicked-up modern romance.
The first half of the collection came in generous cuts and multiple shades of brown. Karlie Kloss was transformed into a prim, British aristocrat with the use of a tie-neck blouse, wheat-colored cardigan, and relaxed beige trousers. Ensuing looks followed the same layering formula, by stacking together high-neck tops (some worn with neckties), cardigans or vests, tailored jackets, and either brushed wool skirts, suede trousers, or loose silk pants. Before the show became too “one-note”, Lauren included a series of modern outerwear options, like a suede bomber trimmed in dark chocolate fur, a Navajo print blanket coat, and a patchworked wool shawl.
Halfway through the show, the tone and direction of the styles changed dramatically. From suede bombers and plaid cape ensembles, Lauren changed course to focus on velvets, brocades, and tapestry prints. Enter: the rock goddess. First came a ruffle-necked, sleeveless dress, which was embossed with tone-on-tone floral embroidery. Additionally, this portion of the show included long-sleeved leather mini dresses, velvet minis scalloped with ruffles around the forearm and up the bicep, velvet trousers with fringed side seams, and long royal blue velvet dusters touched with golden brocade embroidery. But it was the long black marching coats and mega-ruffled blouses that stole the spotlight.
Enter: the rock goddess.
For evening, Lauren turned the rock dial down and the glam quotient up with a mesmerizing series of long velvet dresses in shades of rust red, jet black, midnight blue, and royal purple before blowing our minds with two looks made from liquid gold. One was a one-shoulder evening gown whose surface was so luridly light-catching as to come from another world, while the closing look re-purposed the magical golden fabric for a floor-sweeping skirt that dazzled as it claimed the runway.