NEW YORK — Ralph Lauren didn't just have a muse for the fall collection he debuted on the final day of New York Fashion Week. He had a heroine.
The downtown venue of his runway show last week was serene and sophisticated, a very different setting than most, but the models seemed as if they could have stepped out of the pages of a gripping novel set during the Russian Revolution.
The story? A woman who through strength finds herself and, in the final chapter, discovers love.
"I was inspired by the spirit of a romantic revolutionary — a timeless heroine, independent and bold, a woman who revels in her individuality and personal style," Lauren told The Associated Press in an email.
Perhaps her story begins in a cold, seaside town, with a wardrobe that includes a cashmere cable-knit turtleneck with a flared leather miniskirt or balloon-leg pants tucked into her boots. She also has a nautical-striped sweater and sailor-style pants in black double-face wool.
And she has heavy black wool coats with strong shoulders and fitted waists. Did the officer's coat with the gold hardware, crest and embroidered stripes belong to her or her lover?
She also requires a puffy, parka-style shearling down coat.
Later, she wears long, full skirts with cashmere turtlenecks and cropped vests, with a low-slung belt around her hips. That seemed like a fresh proportion on the catwalk this season.
Then, with a new confidence, she starts going out in the evening. Her look evolves from delicate black dresses lightly dotted with caviar beading into a pleated gown covered all over in thin vertical strips of leather.
There were regal, more glamorous gowns with flashier embellishment, including a black one with slim chains of gold beading around her neck and an embroidered choker. Another was midnight-blue with chunky crystals at the neck and bustline, letting Lauren's heroine write the rest of her story.