Ralph Lauren Fall 2011 Review

Ralph Lauren Fall 2011 RTW

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Ralph Lauren Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Ralph Lauren (See the full runway collection.)

HAIR: Guido Palau

MAKEUP: Tom Pecheux

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: A stroll through ’20s Shanghai’s fashionable crowd

Midway through Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2011 show, the lights dimmed and the runway cleared. Editors looked around, questioningly. And then she appeared: a model wearing an embellished black evening gown with a moiré and shearling cocoon coat, topped with a cloche hat. The music? A rendition of “China Girl.” 

This season, the designer took us to Shanghai in the ’20s (with a few hints of the ’30s and I.M. Pei), complete with opulent fabrics, patterns and cuts draped languidly on models.

From a week in which the buzzword was glamour, we finally got the real deal. And if you were wondering where all the black normally reserved for Fall went, it landed firmly on Ralph Lauren’s runway.

The Eastern influence kicked off subtly, with a silk wrapped blouse in cream paired with black slim trousers. It was a simple look yet exquisitely tailored, setting the tone for the rest of the collection. From there, the looks deepened into the theme, adding richer fabrics and prints with art deco jade accessories.

Those who were expecting classic Ralph—luxury Americana—are now using a new word to describe his clothes: sexy, thanks to the deep keyhole blouses, fitted pencil skirts, and a body-skimming sweater dress.

High points were many, ranging from the menswear looks and evening gowns to the cocoon coats and accessories. Suits in glossy silk played with light and texture, and tuxedos were perfectly fitted, paired with beaded halters and high-waist narrow trousers.

The scene-stealers were, by far, the evening gowns. Liquid, glossy silk, velvets, and embellished fabrics paraded out, each look topping the one prior. A black fluid satin bugle-bead embroidered dress with liquidy-silver trim was a showstopper, as was the finale: a beaded dress with a metallic hood.

Accessories played a major role in this collection, from the jade jewelry to the art deco accents, to the I.M. Pei glasses. The red shoes added a nice accent of color, while the headgear appeared in the form of turbans, cloches, and the aforementioned hood, which resembled medieval armor.

Lauren toed the line between inspiration and nostalgia, sending out simple looks with elegant cuts draped in chinoiserie prints. If the postshow response was any indication, the coats will be the first to be snapped up by editors come next Fall.