The flashbulbs were visible from three blocks away. We thanked our lucky stars our cab driver didn’t have epilepsy, as we approached Skylight Studios. Fortunately, we made it to the venue safe and sound, and found ourselves standing in a long line. The ominous heavens were looking fondly upon good old Ralph, as the deluge held off until after the show.
Even VIPs have to stand in line at at Ralph Lauren, we learned, as Hamish Bowels grumbled about the “long queue” and took his place behind us. Looking perfectly Victorian in a long overcoat and a black fur cap befitting a tsar, Mr. Bowels held in his hand a weathered, embossed book which, upon inquiry, we learned was his personal fashion diary. “It’s where I keep all my runway notes,” he explained, walking into the space.
Inside, a Jazz Age ballad was playing and crystal chandeliers were glittering above the crowd. Anna Wintour, glasses off, was sitting in the front row, along with Andre Leon Talley, Nina Garcia, Grace Coddington, Ingrid Sischy and Sandra Brant. The Lauren family trickled in, first Ricky then David and Lauren (who dutifully displayed her FEED bag as she posed for photos) and finally a rather harried Dylan.
As the stragglers found their seats and lights dimmed, Ms. Wintour donned her dark glasses once more, right on schedule. The show began with plaid-heavy looks, topped with dandy-ish hatware. By the time one model appeared with a top-hat and a cane, we discerned distinct Belle Epoque undertones to the collection. Three-piece velvet suits and smoking jackets added to the theatrical nostalgia.
After the show, The Observer caught up with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff who appeared calm and composed despite seven grueling days at the tents. “I’m holding up great,” she said. “I cant believe we’re finally here at the last day.”
For Ms. Winston Wolkoff, however, the hardest part of the week hasn’t been managing moody models, diva designers and thousands of attendees, but the time old issue facing all working women face. “I think just managing fashion week and family, that’s been the most difficult part,” she told The Observer.
Despite the successful Fashion Week, Ms. Winston Wolkoff is ready for a break. ” I am going to take my family first thing tomorrow morning to the Bahamas. We’re going to Atlantis. I’m going to engage with my kids and run wild with them,” she said.
With the Caribbean sun on our minds, we trudged back out into the rainy morning, realizing our Fashion Week tour was finally complete. Instead of Atlantis, however, we headed uptown.