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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Ralph Lauren Has His California Dreams Here

The ability to construct in different parts of the globe is Ralph Lauren’s greatest asset and the one that has allowed the American firm to thrive for the last 55 years. Or, more accurately, the creation of worlds.

A Western saloon (Double RL), the social circuit in the Hamptons, and an ancient college quad humming with first-year students are some examples of the many stylistic universes represented by the several brands that fall under the umbrella of the corporation.

When you go to Mr. Lauren’s shop on Madison Avenue, which is housed in a mansion, or make a reservation at one of his restaurants, which are frequented by famous people, his wishes come true.

While guests began to arrive, the musician John Legend was spotted taking pictures in front of the Beaux-Arts home while dressed in a long black robe-style jacket with white polka dots. He was doing this as the guests came. Before saying hello to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Sylvester Stallone is seen on a neighbouring veranda spinning about at the bar while recording a selfie video, which amuses his two daughters (they are the creators of a podcast called “Unwaxed,” about unmarried 20-somethings).

According to one of them, Emily Mariko, this is just her second time attending a runway show, and she can’t wait to go to more in the future. A few weeks ago in New York, she debuted for the first time at Mirror Palais, a brand that is popular among Generation Z and is well-known for its extreme crop tops. Ms. Mariko, 30, who became famous on TikTok for reheating fish and rice, says no to the pigs-in-a-blanket hors d’oeuvres that several male models acting as servers give to her.

Cole Sprouse, who is dressed in all black from head to toe and is carrying a giant camera around his neck, used to be a teen star, and for a split second I mistook him for an official show photographer (who usually wear head-to-toe black with large cameras around their necks). Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez walk in wearing all black and take their seats at the table. It is hard to mistake them for anybody other than Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez because of their clothing.

After that, there is a bit of a Parisian interlude that is choreographed to a French rendition of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking.” The models wear bra tops with long skirts and berets in navy and red for this portion of the performance. It reminds me a lot of the movie “Emily in Paris,” whose lead, Lily Collins, can be seen seated next to James Marsden.

These seem to be more like garments for life, for layering, for lunching, and for chicly dropping off children at school, rather than merely costumes for acting roles. There are striped sweaters and plaids that clash with each other, color-blocked shoes, striped oxfords and faded denim, and ruffled white eyelet skirts worn with patchwork jackets and Western boots. Rogue kid models are all over the place, and one of them is giving high fives to the audience.

When there is a moment of quiet before the last round of applause, the actor who portrays Angus Cloud in “Euphoria” yells “yes” (like “ye-uh”) into the microphone. Later on, he will get up from his seat, put an unlit cigarette in his mouth, grab a can of Red Bull with one hand, and shake hands with the GQ editor Will Welch with the other hand. He will then continue to talk.

A year ago, Mr. Lauren responded dismissively to concerns over the possibility that he might soon depart his business. At that time, he was quoted as having remarked, “I’m working, I’m strong, and I enjoy what I’m doing.”

A few hours later, Mr. Lauren gets up and walks about during the dinner that is being given in the grounds of the museum. He leaves his seat next to Diane Keaton while she is wearing a bowler hat. My preoccupation with counting the variety of glances he gave me is a source of amusement for him. The biggest fashion shows normally feature between sixty and seventy attendees. I was informed that there were more than 120 models participating in this performance.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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