By Paige Corwin
After days of checking the mail and returning home empty-handed, it was finally here: my invitation to the Ralph Lauren Fall 2013 fashion show. The most beautiful piece of crème cardstock I have ever seen — regal, sophisticated and all mine.
I immediately called my mother and asked if she’d received hers yet. Of course she had, considering I was her “plus one.” She’d gotten the real invite from our family friend Owen Keller, a senior sales manager for the women’s collection in New York. For the first time ever, Ralph Lauren’s best employees could invite their most loyal customers to the show as a token of appreciation. Thanks for this one, Mom. This is one of the best gifts she has ever given me — a seat at a Ralph Lauren fashion show.
A week later we’re armed with trunks’ full of Ralph Lauren (the only brand to wear to the designer’s show, of course) en route to New York. I packed my most treasured Lauren pieces for the trip: a vintage navy silk blazer with gold enamel buttons, a stunning, floor-sweeping black lace skirt, a charcoal leather bomber jacket, my camel-hued leather leggings, a black cashmere turtleneck, my black patent leather Proprietor belt, and, of course, my all-time-favorite black leather stiletto ankle booties.
The first evening we attended a cocktail party at the Mansion, the flagship store on Madison and 72nd. Easily one of the most enviable pieces of real estate in Manhattan, the Mansion is the essence of Ralph Lauren grandeur — three stories of the most elegant, beautiful designs by the man himself. The evening was the perfect preface to Thursday morning, the fashion show.
The moment I stepped into the studio I was hooked. An air of excitement engulfed the room, and our host’s previous collections were on display on attendees everywhere I looked. Walking past the runway to my seat, I could feel the Lauren influence all around — from the opulent vintage antler chandeliers to the muted Russian acoustics lulling in the background to the designer’s three beautiful children, all sitting in the front row.
The audience fell silent and within moments Ralph Lauren had swept us into a sumptuous Russian romance. Beautiful models cascaded down the runway in Russian imperial styles. Gold chain detail ankle boots, fox fur headpieces, cable knit crème turtlenecks paired with black leather skirts, heavy black wool peacoats and pipeline leather leggings. This was followed by dramatic evening wear of rich jewel tones and Chantilly lace, nothing short of modern-day Anna Karenina.
Ralph Lauren had topped himself with this collection. Needless to say it was my best Valentine’s Day to date, spent with my first true love, Ralph Lauren.