Ralph Lauren marks 40 years in fashion

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By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL, AP Fashion Writer

Sun Sep 9, 12:36 AM ET

NEW YORK - Ralph Lauren took a well-deserved extended bow Saturday night as he both presented and celebrated his 40th anniversary collection.

Lauren sauntered down the runway at a tent erected just outside the Conservatory Gardens in Manhattan's Central Park to Frank Sinatra's "The Best Is Yet To Come." A crowd that included Sarah Jessica Parker, Martha Stewart, Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters gave the designer a standing ovation. Fellow top-tier designers Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg and Vera Wang, who once worked for Lauren, also were at the black-tie event.

The theme of the spring collection, debuting during New York Fashion Week, was a day at the races. Some models wore oversized hats with garden-party dresses — one of the best being a pale-blue floral printed silk plisse gown with a halter neckline and ruffled jabot — while others wore menswear-style jackets, ascots and tailored trousers. Spatlike shoes completed the look.

The jockeys were even represented with crystal-embellished jodhpurs, a yellow jersey dress with an equestrian print, and a bright pink equestrian-print taffeta jacket with splashes of blue, white, green and yellow, and a peplum at the hip.

Spring '08 features more colors than Lauren has shown in years.

The clothes, however, were secondary to recognizing Lauren's long tenure at the top of an industry always looking for the next big thing.

Lauren is one of the "nicest, warmest and loveliest" in the fashion world, said von Furstenberg, president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

"He is so successful because he lives his fantasy with such passion. I just love him," she said.

After the last gown — a slinky and stunning silver chain-beaded gown — disappeared from the runway and Lauren had his moment in the spotlight, the back wall opened to reveal an elegant and elaborate party set up in the Conservatory Garden itself. This was the first private event ever held at the Gardens by a third party.

A sprawling fountain in the middle picked up the light from the dozen chandeliers hanging from arched arborways on the terrace and from the hundreds of candles on the tables.

"Like a Henry James character, he (Lauren) is the last true idealist about America's imagination of itself," said Harold Koda, curator at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "That makes him the greatest ambassador of American style."

Ralph Lauren marks 40 years in fashion - Yahoo! News

 

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