Fashion / Style File

Ralph Lauren Unveils the Most Sophisticated Coffee Shop Ever at Fashion Week

Fashion King Turned Restaurant Tycoon is Still Bringing It

BY // 02.15.19
photography Courtesy of Ralph Lauren

NEW YORK — If Ralph Lauren ever gets bored with his fashion gig, he’ll always have something to fall back on. His clubby Polo Bar is a favorite among New York’s society set and he operates chic dining outposts in Paris, London and Chicago.

In addition, Ralph’s Coffee shops are a staple in Lauren’s stores in New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, serving up the 79-year-old designer’s organic coffees and teas, along with muffins and sandwiches.

Given his reinvention as a world-class restaurateur, it wasn’t too surprising to discover that instead of a traditional runway show at New York Fashion Week, Lauren served up style with a cup of joe.

Lauren transformed the first floor of his flagship Madison Avenue store into “Ralph’s Cafe,” with white marble tables and tufted dark-green leather banquettes, and unveiled his spring collection over a breakfast of egg-white frittatas and mini-croissants served to the fashion press and a smattering of celebrities by white-aproned waiters.

Models roamed the cafe, turning and posing in exaggerated style, recalling the long-ago days when every department had a tea room with a glamorous “style show.”

The collection is deceptively simple, as Lauren utilizes only three colors — black, white, and gold — along with a smattering of looks featuring a black-and-white floral pattern. But it retains some typical Lauren flash, with such looks as a white military-style jacket with epaulets and gold buttons that borders on costumey and a glamorous gold lame floor-length evening cape.

Recognizing that women want more flexibility in the way they dress, the collection offers dozens of mix-and-match separates, from trim slacks for daytime or sequined up for night to cape sweaters, silk shirts, fitted blazers, and one-shoulder bodysuits, as well as a number of belted crewneck dresses and V-neck jumpsuits.

For evening, Lauren goes a bit more casual by stamping a small polo player emblem on a glittery black sequined gown with short sleeves. Before now, the signature image has only appeared on shirts and swimwear.

Unlike most fashion week designers, who showcase looks that won’t be available until fall, Lauren operates on “See Now/Buy Now” schedule. The advantage is that virtually everything on the runway is immediately available online or at select Ralph Lauren stores. (In Houston, the Ralph Lauren Collection is also available at Elizabeth Anthony.)

However because everything has to be produced in advance without input from retailers and stylists, the looks aren’t exactly groundbreaking. But they offer Lauren’s fans what they have come to expect: Sophisticated style — and lots of it.

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