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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Laurie Pike, our L.A. buddy and Style Director of Los Angeles magazine, ruminates on the Ralph Lauren show...

The Ralph Lauren show—two consecutive ones, to accommodate all the press and buyers—took place Saturday evening at the Conservancy Garden on 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. I took the subway to 103rd Street, and as I walked to the show at my appointed time I marveled, not for the first time, that so few fashion shows guests take the MTA. They would rather spend more time and money sitting in a town car. I walked through projects, or what looked like projects—nice ones, with trimmed grass surrounding brick buildings and kids playing basketball—on my way to the large tent in Central Park.

For a minute after arrival I thought I was at a Chanel show, since everyone was in conservative black and white. A woman in an embossed silver Native Americanesque belt (instead of a necklace with interlocking Cs) reminded me otherwise. Champagne and caviar were served by cater-waiters who looked like Polo models. The first song that played as models walked out in the horse race-inspired show had words something like this: “Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, Prada…boring. Cocaine, heroin….boring.” That song, by The Pierces, and all the music coordinated by Ralph's son suggested that the decade-long obsession with luxe has imploded. (It had nothing to do with the clothes, which were in fact luxurious: frou frou floral gowns, silk cocktail dresses that Dior does better, '30s silhouettes, and best of all, menswear-looking vests and suits Ralph nails every time, plus some bright color-blocked jockey silk blouses and dresses that looked like Hermès after a whirl in an electroclash blender.)

After the show I took the subway to Cubana Café in Soho. There was one person from the show on the train with me (you can tell who they are). At the restaurant, a bartender told me that some young girl has told the New York Post that “fashion week is so last season.” Everyone is over it, he said. Could a revolution be brewing, I wondered as I viewed images of Cuba on the walls through my cloudy mojito. Could young people reject luxe and go green—not Vanity Fair green but for real green? A customer in a faux vintage T-shirt said she's over New York. It's so expensive, she said. I perked up. She never goes out any more, she said, adding, “I just I bought a house in L.A.”

- Laurie Pike