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Ralph Lauren

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AMERICAN IDEAL

The faltering economy must have gotten Ralph Lauren thinking about the Great Depression, as he re-explored the work clothes and sauntering style of that period, complete with tomboy-ish newsboy caps and suspenders. Denim, the great American fabric, was the foundation of the collection – first shown in baggy, distressed jeans with a wide cuff and as utilitarian blazers, later spangled with tiny silver beads for a dressed-up look. Sweet calico dresses and separates brought to mind life on the Dust Bowl prairies, and smart navy three-piece suits, some with blousy knickers, looked plucked straight from the streets of New York in the 1930s. Periwinkle silk seemed to pick up color from all the faded denim. Passages of white organza dresses and silvery silks seemed to dilute the message, but a few more hits of baggy denim and a tailored jacket toward the end of the show brought it all full circle.

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