Bronx-born Ralph Lauren, a quintessential New Yorker, had never staged a parade on the American West Coast before. So it’s clear that with his first show in sunny California, he was going to go big – or else stay home.
Tall he went, staging a lavish display of his well-honed ethic of casual luxury, with strong Western styles like hats and cowboy boots, against a setting sun at the great Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, near Los Angeles.
Scroll through the gallery above for more photos from Ralph Lauren’s California runway
Rivaling his lavish 50th anniversary show in New York’s Central Park in 2018, Thursday’s extravaganza drew a slew of movie stars – including newlyweds Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck – to watch more than 120 models parade on the catwalk, including adorable toddlers in Lauren’s children’s clothes that had the fashionable crowd gasping in delight.
“We are in show business,” the 83-year-old creator simply said in a post-show interview, standing beside the endless candlelit tables where guests dined after the show on Polo Bar burgers, grilled branzino and other specialties from his restaurant in New York.
Lauren explained that at first he felt LA wasn’t his style, but that changed and he finally decided, “OK, let’s do something in LA, but let’s do it right.”
Always a celebrity magnet, Lauren released a slice of Hollywood’s A-list with Lopez and Affleck, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Sylvester Stallone, John Legend, Diane Keaton, Jessica Chastain, Laura Dern, Chris Pine and James Marsden, to name a few.
The intimate affair for some 200 people began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres like tuna tartare on a patio overlooking the lush lawns and gardens of the Huntington, which was once home to the age tycoon. or Henry Huntington. Celebrity guests mingled with TikTok influencers and Lauren’s clients.
As the sun set, guests were summoned to the museum’s tiled entrance, where models strutted their stuff to a soundtrack of California-themed songs like The California Dream.
There were lots of cowboy hats, worn jeans and boots to start with, gradually changing into more sophisticated garments like long bright skirts and cut-out dresses for women.
Two small children each holding a hand of their accompanying adult also appeared, dressed in classic Lauren looks of tweed jackets, sweater vests, striped shirts and white shorts.
More children followed, including a little boy in bright green pants who stole the moment by insisting he clap his hands at everyone he passed.
The show, which featured designs from several Ralph Lauren lines, including menswear and childrenswear, ended with the models all returning to gather on the terrace, joined by Lauren as he stepped out under the cheers.
Over dinner, Kushton and Kunis chatted with Legend, who said in a pre-show interview that Lauren is “obviously an icon in the fashion industry and has relied on style so much for so long.”
Lopez noted that Lauren dressed her and Affleck for their recent nuptials. “Ralph did our wedding, so we got pretty close,” she said. “And we really like his aesthetic.”
And singer Maggie Rogers noted that she grew up a fan of the brand. “I’ve been watching them for a few years and to me they represent such a timeless American style, and I always try to bring that…classic stuff to my music,” she said. “So it looks like a perfect match.”
The show’s soundtrack ended with a song that seemed to acknowledge Lauren’s divided feelings, geographically speaking. “Well, I was born and raised in New York,” Neil Diamond’s song read I am…I said“but today I’m lost between two shores. LA is good, but it’s not my home. New York is my home but it’s not mine anymore.”
Updated: October 15, 2022, 06:58