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Fashion / Style File

Oprah Helps Yankees Super Fan Ralph Lauren Kill it on Social Media

Fashion Week’s Unlikely Instagram King is a Nearly 80-Year-Old Icon

BY // 09.24.18

NEW YORK — The fashion business is known for its obsession with youth. But the king of social media at New York Fashion Week was a 78-year-old designer not known for his Instagram prowess. Nevertheless, Ralph Lauren ruled with a whopping 4.5 million social media engagements, according to the social analytics firm ListenFirst.

Lauren’s 50th anniversary celebration, which included a runway show and dinner in Central Park, far outdistanced any other fashion brand in attracting likes and comments on social media platforms. Of course, it didn’t hurt to have a stellar guest list that included Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, Tony Bennett, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, Kanye West, Steven Spielberg and Chance the Rapper.

A “Who’s Who” of  American fashion designers, including Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch and Vera Wang, also were in the crowd to salute their colleague.

The star-studded audience upstaged the runway show, held in a park arcade covered with overlapping Persian rugs. Unlike most designers at New York Fashion Week who showed next spring’s collections, Lauren presented his current fall collection that is available online and in stores now. He featured a whopping 110 looks, beginning with 61 styles from his Ralph Lauren Collection womenswear line and Double RL menswear collection.

The women’s Ralph Lauren Collection, in lush fall/winter colors of burgundy, brown, black, and shades of dark purple and mauve, ranges from the practical — striped wool trousers, chocolate brown leather slacks, geometric shawl cardigans, double breasted jackets — to the whimsical — an embroidered steer head sweater, a black turtleneck with the outline of Lauren’s face, and leather bomber jackets festooned with emblems are among the more creative items.

Nighttime looks range from heavily embellished velvet gowns to dangly beaded skirts and distinctive patchwork evening wear. One patchwork gown that incorporates the American flag, called The Barrick, retails for $20,000.

The menswear Double RL collection is more traditional, with well-worn denim jeans, tweed suits, traditional hand-knit sweaters and patchwork topcoats. Lauren ended with 49 different men’s, women’s and children’s looks from his Polo Ralph Lauren collection, sending out adorable couples with children dressed in preppy attire accented with cuffed hats with pom-poms, logo-stamped berets and ranger boots with neon laces.

Afterwards, guests gathered for a seated dinner featuring filet mignon from Lauren’s Colorado ranch and heartfelt toasts, led by Winfrey, who told the misty-eyed crowd that Lauren’s success wasn’t just about fashion, but rather family, freedom and integrity.

Ralph Lauren at 80

Nearing 80, Lauren shows no signs of slowing down. He recently introduced a free mobile app dedicated to his Polo line, with insider access to limited-edition products and other exclusive content. The app also includes behind-the-scenes look inside the world of Ralph Lauren, with such editorial features as The Boy from The Bronx, which details how baseball shaped the New York designer’s life and work. The app will soon also include a forum where collectors from all over the world can trade Lauren products.

Lauren, a lifelong baseball fan, has created a limited edition New York Yankees collection, including an embroidered satin baseball jacket (which has already sold out), a New Era “RL 50” baseball cap, a Wilson leather baseball glove (emblazoned with a “Ralph 50th” logo), and a Rawlings commemorative baseball available on the Polo app and at mlb.com.

A week after his blowout fashion show, Lauren was honored at Yankees Stadium, where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Yankees-Red Sox game and wore No. 5 in honor of his favorite all-time player, Joe DiMaggio. And he seemed more excited about being on the pitcher’s mound than all his fashion success.

Part of the Special Series:

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