Ralph Lauren NYFW Spring 2013 Collection: Romance Language

Much like the fantastically folkloric bags out of his Spring ’13 collection, Ralph Lauren sought the cobbled streets of Madrid, the bullfighting rings of Mexico City, and the late-night parties of Buenos Aires for inspiration. Or at least his images of them; for Ralph, imagination is as powerful as travel.

And travel we did! This interpretation of Spanish influence is utterly poetic, what with the outpouring of layers of ruffles, beatnik berets, colorful serapes, and a plethora of suede, embroidery, and hand-crocheted silk, but it was also spiced with some edge, courtesy of the motorcycle-studded hobo bags. Be-fringed leather pants are fitting of the cattle-herding mountains of Argentina, a gold lame bolero makes for old-world intrigue, and a color palette doesn’t get much more Spanish than red and black with shots of turquoise and gold. There was a boy-meets-girl tension at work, and it made for a palpable sense of romance. Matador suits accented with traditional embellishments accounted for boyish strength, while senoritas with cinched waists and chunky glass-bead necklaces looked like they were going to happily break out maracas at any moment.

Despite all the Latin flavor, emanating from the vivacious, fiesta-worthy colors, the woven striped ponchos, and flamenco-style skirts, all of Ralph Lauren’s key elements are in place. A bouquet-print chiffon evening dress is the designer at his purest, and the knotted neckties, flawless ruffles, and swingy trousers cannot be mistaken for anyone else. A great American designer, we know Ralph Lauren is, but the influencer is also heavily influenced by the outside world – and that also makes him a stylist at heart, appropriating his journeys and visions into his own romantic language.

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