Ralph Lauren’s fall and winter 2015 women’s collection definitely had a Western vibe to it, and every last piece that came down the runway Thursday would have been right at home at Lauren’s 16,000-acre Double RL Ranch in Colorado, from the shearling TK to the wide cowhide belts with immense tusk-shaped buttons whittled out of antler bone.
But the label didn’t serve up a sense of place as specifically as it has in some recent seasons. Instead of looking outward, the focus for fall was inward, and the label doubled down on the fabrication front, going heavy on the knit and shearling pieces in a muted palette of black, cream and a speckly shade of brown (described in the show notes as “truffle”).
There were clingy cashmere turtlenecks, hip-hugging cashmere cable-knit skirts, shoulders draped in fringed cashmere shawls, torsos wrapped in cashmere coats with shearling collars and cashmere patchwork ponchos. (At one point there was so much cashmere coming down the catwalk we started to wonder whether Lauren was raising cashmere-producing goats on that ranch of his.)
There were plenty of other fabrics in the soft parade too, including soft flannel (in dresses and pants), suede (bags, shoes and pants) and a herd’s worth of shearling. (The show notes pointed out that all “fur-like pieces featured in the collection are constructed of shearling.”)
“Go West, young man” is a phrase often credited to 19th century newspaper editor Horace Greeley. Whether or not he was the first to say it, we’re pretty sure that, if the women of the West looked like they did coming down the Ralph Lauren runway Thursday, no one would’ve had to ask a second time.
--It was a full-on mod squad at Calvin Klein Collection, where women’s creative director Francisco Costa gave a Swinging ‘60s geometry lesson that included rectangles (found in the patchwork detail of shearling coats and leather sheath dresses), triangles (in the form of flare-leg culottes and generous lapels) and circles (in the form of keyhole dress cutouts and decorative jacket buttons the size of drink coasters).
The groove train continued in the form of sling bags with straps in chunky chain-link resin, chenille pea coats with wisps of fringe at the cuffs and hems, jumpsuits, maxi-dresses, mini-dresses and an assortment of haircalf pieces including patchwork coats, Mary Janes and clutches.
Sure, the late ‘60s / early ‘70s vibe feels like it’s been a perennial recycle for a few seasons now, but Costa’s take on the time period may just have you yearning to do the time warp again.