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Ralph Lauren’s Chinese Gesture

Godfrey Deeny
February 17th, 2011 @ 7:31 PM - New York

Glamour with a Chinese accent and aesthetic was the big news this season at Ralph Lauren, whose fall 2011 collection recalled the Golden Age of Hollywood as much as today's growing global giant.

Presented on, of course, a black lacquer runway, the collection used Chinoiserie, classic passementerie, dragoons and lotus flowers, and lots of strong red detailing.

"China is such an immense phenomena. We talk about it every day. So I felt as a designer it was something I had to address," Lauren said after the show, staged in a downtown New York gallery on Thursday, Feb. 17.

Throughout there was a nightclub air to the show - most of the outfits were evening wear, and the majority of them in black.

Few designers know better than Lauren how to keep luxury opulent yet simple, as the classy series of halter neck columns, finished with silver silk pane and satin bugle beaded embroidery made very clear.

Even the soundtrack veered east – from David Bowie's China Girl to the soundtrack Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.

Perhaps the defining look was a delicate Asian model, in a tuxedo suit, made with jodhpur cut pants, who sported jade earrings and a cell phone finished with passementerie beading. Talk about self-assured aplomb.

Lauren took his traditional languid march down the runway, to prolonged applause, entering onto the catwalk through a modernist doorway, exactly like those used in Hollywood films about 1930s China that were actually shot in California.

"Rather than Hollywood I wanted the glamour that I associate with China. And I think we got that," said Lauren, attired in black cashmere crewneck, pants and sneakers.

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