Yasmine Le Bon for Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 1985
A nostalgic charm pervaded Ralph Lauren’s fall showing. Bits of old lace wrapped around the throat and extending over the wrists, derby hats, pearl chokers, walking sticks and high laced shoes were some of the details that contributed to the Edwardian feeling. The best pieces included tapestry jackets, gray flannel trousers with both cuffs and stirrups and a variety of short, cabled sweaters.
– By BERNADINE MORRIS in FALL SPORTSWEAR: A WIDE RANGE OF THEMES for the NYT, May 3, 1985
A life of leisure for the genteel gentry. A haughty nonchalance. Ralph Lauren’s exploration of the era’s pared down but not yet minimalist ease offered a suitable haven for those who disdained an encroaching cultural vulgarity. The monochromatic palette, the soft sensual lines, and a nod to 1930’s leisure wear, albeit slightly inauthentic coming from the Great Gatsby himself, is all class.
From Ralph Lauren’s Spring 1983 campaign photographed by Bruce Weber
“Another worthwhile collection this week was Ralph Lauren’s. Smaller in scope than the Beene clothes, it made a definite statement with considerable style. ‘I felt this was the time to do simple, pure clothes,” Mr. Lauren said. ”Simplicity and elegance are to me the same thing.”
Except for a few pastels, he worked in black or white linen, did not add an extraneous detail and concentrated on minimal shapes, among them a shift dress, a pants suit, a button-front or wrapped dress. Everything was simple and pristine.”
– From “Beene Combines Ease and Luxury” by Bernadine Morris for the NYT, October 30, 1982
Ralph Lauren’s Fall 1982 Campaign photographed by Bruce Weber
Ralph Lauren’s steadfast historicism rivals the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and John Galliano, it’s all been a part of his rendition of the American Dream: recasting the country’s modest heritage as the ultimate luxury, fueled by a stoic nostalgia. A reference to colonial America, with quilted patchwork and scenic motifs on sweaters, bleeds a high kitsch factor bordering on comedy. In anyone else’s hands you could be distracted by the hilarity of it all. But for Ralph Lauren, of course with photography by Bruce Weber, there’s a touching sincerity that really makes you want to believe. A humble decorative richness, a sense of humor, and a nostalgic nod to a triumphant past are all very potent ideas, then and now.