Ralph Lauren: Pre-Fall 2014

by Alex R. Travers

Ralph Lauren Pre-Fall 2014 QuestThe elemental focus of Ralph Lauren’s Pre-Fall ’14 today was something to cherish. If Spring made you think of lurid colors and monochromes, then Pre-Fall made the transition from shining to subtle. Gray was the color du jour, the gray of the San Francisco fog and the Hitchcock women in matching outfits that emerged. In fact, Lauren kept having a go at the tone as if he were Scottie Ferguson trying to find just the right suit to bring his image of Madeleine Elster back to life. Except the designer’s obsession with neutrals translated into something wonderful. One of the most appealing aspects of the clothes was that they looked so natural. “Very delicate, very sleek, very modern,” he said. But it no doubt took a lot of hard work to shape that effortless swagger.

His overall ethos felt like a celebration of Old Hollywood glamour. Lauren seemed to be thinking about women like Kim Novack, Eva Marie Saint, and Suzanne Pleshette. For his new collection, you could imagine the ladies Lauren had on his mind were the actresses’ contemporary counterparts: an icy blonde in a two-button dove gray suit; the dashing Val Zelyaeva in a bias-cut midi; and an ever-so elegant Mackenzie Drazan in high-waisted trousers and a silk roll-neck top. He’d clearly thought about romance, too, as the models ambled down the runway in suede slips with shoulders waiting to be kissed.

All in all, the detail was extraordinary. Textures and fabrics varied, and carried different degrees of drape, like a fine shaker-knit sweater worn over a lustrous satin skirt, or a long-haired fur stole that hugged a luxe crêpe de chine dress. Lauren’s rocky mineral accessories, in the form of belts, earrings, and brooches, confirmed the collection’s stability. And the finale—a satin halter gown with an overlaid smock-pleated bodice—held the audience in thrall. All that was missing was the Bernard Herrmann score.