The beautiful people took over Central Park Monday night. Young, athletic and drop-dead gorgeous Ralph Lauren models from recent years wearing colorful polo shirts with their names emblazoned on the back overran the large lake near the west edge of the grand park like ants at a picnic. Members of the fashion media and New York notables who came out for the debut of the Polo Ralph Lauren for Women spring 2015 collection felt downright schlubby by comparison.
Guests made their way to the edge of the lake, where suddenly a four-story high fountain of water erupted and holographic images of New York landmarks appeared out of thin air under the nighttime sky.
With a new clothing line (the Polo for Women collection is more colorful and casual — and less expensive — than the top-of-the line Ralph Lauren Collection) and the Polo brand's first flagship store on Fifth Avenue, Lauren and his son David decided to launch it in a high tech, holographic way mixed with classic touches the designer is known for.
Before the new kind of runway show began, the crowd wound its way through the park as hunky guys in white Polo shirts stood every few feet on the path with flashlights so no one would stumble. Once near the lake, more young men in white polos stood with silver trays laden with champagne while others served bowls of late summer tomato salad, New England lobster rolls and Ralph burgers from behind white wooden carts while a four-piece orchestra played classical music.
Guests made their way to the edge of the lake around 9:30 pm, where suddenly a four-story high fountain of water erupted and holographic images of New York landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and the High Line appeared out of thin air under the nighttime sky. Holographic models showcased the new collection on the water screen as it constantly changed locations, colors and patterns.
With all the razzle dazzle of the new technology using live action and CG to generate 4D effects, the clothes got a bit lost in the display, although there were more than 45 looks that range from casual sateen varsity jackets, lace dresses and striped sweaters to boldly colored evening wear.
At the end of the presentation, a holographic Ralph Lauren made his runway bow to the Frank Sinatra tune, "Fly Me To The Moon," just like at a regular show, and then disappeared into thin air as the Polo logo vanished into a sea of stars in the night time sky.
The real Ralph Lauren was there too, with his family and friends including Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, Anna Wintour, Ciara and Karlie Kloss.
The film was about 10 minutes — about the time of a regular runway show— but the crowd didn't disperse quickly. Many stayed around to watch the runway show again, ogle the models and drink more champagne.
As I left, David Lauren, who his wife Lauren Bush Lauren told me was fascinated with the technology, was eagerly looking at images on a photographer's camera as the few traces of clouds disappeared and a full moon broke through on a chilly, near picture-perfect night.