Ever since he was a child, Ralph Lauren has been obsessed with supercars. And at last he’s combined his passion for Ferraris and Bugattis with a stylish new fashion collection. Charlie Gowans-eglinton has a front-row seat
Ralph Lauren’s September Collection
‘ FOR ME, IT ’S ALWAYS about the woman, never the dress,’ Ralph Lauren said. ‘It ’s the woman that gives the dress a personality. The way she wears it, the accessories she chooses. It’s all about an attitude.’ For the designer’s September Collection show, he put the woman in the driver’s seat – or near it, anyway – inviting the world’s press to view his private car collection in situ at his personal garage in Bedford, New York, and sending models wending past icons of automotive design.
The sleek, high-shine black, silver, red and yellow gowns on show took cues from the surrounding supercars, like Lauren’s gloss-black 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Drop Head Coupé, a Mercedes-benz 1930 SSK ‘Count Trossi’ roadster (only one of which was ever produced) and a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Spyder.
‘I’ve always loved cars, since I was a little kid in the Bronx pretending to steer an imaginary one, sitting on the edge of a sofa in our living room ,’ Lauren recalled at the show .‘ I still remember my father’s navy blue 1949 Pontiac with torpedo fins. My first car was a Britishmade Morgan with a leather strap over the hood. When Ricky [Lauren, his wife of over 50 years] and I were getting married, I had to sell it to pay our rent.’
Eventually he got it back, and then some. His multi billion-dollar brand’ s VIP clients sat enthralled as they surveyed the new collection, available to shop now. This autumn, the men in the crowd may choose to wear the smart black trousers bearing go-faster stripes down the side, or a well-cut suit layered under the sort of padded jacket a racing driver might shrug into after his victory lap. Women can opt for a full tulle skirt paired with a sculpted patent-leather bodice that echoes the curve of a classic car.
Lauren was clear that even his most grandiose runway looks are designed for use – just like the cars around them. ‘Every one of my cars is in running order,’ he added. ‘I don’t just see them as beautiful pieces of art. I love to drive them. Each one has a different sound, a different feel on the road.’
Clockwise from main image The model Shena Moulton backstage in a look from The September Collection autumn/winter 2017; Ralph Lauren at the finale of the show; Lauren’s silver 1957 Jaguar XKSS; waiters rocking the mechanic look