I have mixed feelings on the topic of Ralph Lauren, mostly because I used to work for them and therefore lived through several months of semi-successful corporate brainwashing. Without the brainwashing, my feelings would be decidedly un-mixed, because their designs are largely dull as balls. As it stands, I know way more about Ralph Lauren than any other designer, which forces me to think critically about the brand as a whole. Ugh.
|All images via Style.com|
Fall 2012 collection was a particular success, because it combined an interesting yet topical inspiration (1920s, Downton Abbey-style tweed suits) with the general in-house style of ladylike American preppiness. This season failed because the inspiration (1960s mod; largely in stark black and white with a handful of shriekily colour-blocked dresses and coats) didn't fit with the overall palette and mood of previous Ralph Lauren collections, and isn't really on-trend with the current fashion world as a whole. A few of the outfits appealed to me personally because I enjoy well-tailored trouser suits, but overall this show was not a success.
This show was my first genuine personal style inspiration of the season. Plenty of designers make beautiful yet unattainable clothes, but this collection was the opposite: completely everyday clothes styled in an interesting way that you could easily recreate at home. I'm never gonna suggest spending $$$ on a plain grey Theyskens' Theory sweater, but I really enjoyed the layered styling -- if not the odd decision to make all the models look like they'd just dipped their hair in a vat of oil.
I'm always into any outfit that makes you look like an alien lizard-bug warrior queen, so naturally this show was A++ from my perspective. The crushed glass mosaics looked so sharp that they might easily have been made from actual crushed glass, while the neat silhouettes and simple hair/makeup balanced out the busy appearance of the fabrics. Also, I love the way Ford managed to make a bunch of tough-looking leather outfits that didn't reference aviator jackets or (shudder) "biker chic". When is someone gonna hire this guy to costume a sci-fi movie?