As more designers decamp to Paris or forgo shows and presentations all together, there’s general feeling among editors that New York Fashion Week has lost its luster. Ralph Lauren seems determined to change that.
Last September, the designer presented his 50th anniversary collection over a lavish dinner and takeover of Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace. For fall 2019, his Madison Avenue flagship was transformed into Ralph’s Cafe, a see-and-be-seen power breakfast spot. While others are bowing out of invitation-only affairs, Lauren—who turns 80 in October—is doubling down on complete fashion immersion.
His latest: Ralph’s Club, a Jazz-Age-era cocktail club created especially for the designer’s spring 2020 collection. For one night only (Saturday, September 7) Ralph’s was the hottest club in New York. It had everything: a live jazz band, dirty martinis, mini corned beef sandwiches, and enough art deco trappings to make the Chrysler building jealous. Janelle Monáe took the stage to give rousing renditions of Nat King Cole’s «Smile» and Frank Sinatra’s «Fly Me to the Moon» then literally stood on, and slithered beneath, VIPs’ tables while performing her latest hits.
The event’s invitation called for black-and-white evening attire and celebrities—among them Cate Blanchett, Mandy Moore, Indya Moore, and Kathryn Newton—all adhered to the rules. Henry Golding looked dapper—if slightly rebellious—in a royal purple velvet suit from the brand. Bright colors were strictly reserved for the collection itself. Gigi Hadid opened in a luminescent silver coat while her sister Bella Hadid shimmered in a floor-length red gown. Perhaps the highlight of the show was Lauren’s iconic Polo bear rendered in sequins (and sporting a tuxedo, martini in claw) on a sheath dress. It was the big-night-out answer to Lauren’s collectible Polo sweater. Meanwhile, a black varsity jacket for evening came emblazoned with a golden «R» lest anyone forget: Whether you’re invited to the clubhouse or Ralph’s Club, it’s members only.