As more designers decamp to Paris or choose to forgo invitation-only shows all together, New York Fashion Week has been plagued by that its 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, corned beef finger sandwiches, and enough art deco mirrors to make the Chrysler building jealous. Janelle Monae gave rousing renditions of Nat King Cole’s “Smile” and Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” before climbing the VIPs’ tables and slithering beneath their feet to perform her own latest hits.
The night’s invitation called for black-and-white evening attire and celebrities—among them Cate Blanchett, Mandy Moore, Indya Moore, and Kathryn Newtown all adhered to the rules. Henry Golding looked dapper—if slightly rebellious—in a royal purple velvet suit from the brand. All color attire was reserved for the collection itself. Gigi Hadid opened in a luminescent silver evening coat and 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 hand) on a body-hugging cocktail dress. It’s the night-out answer to Lauren’s collectible Polo sweater. A black evening varsity jacket came emblazoned with a golden “R” lest anyone forget: Whether you’re invited to the clubhouse or Ralph’s Club, it’s members only.