The Every-Woman - Ralph Lauren Collection
Girl in Style illustration of Ralph Lauren - Dress SS18
Her hair fell just past her shoulders as she untied her ponytail. It was straight and clean and full - cut to the same length all the way around. As she smiled, he noticed her jaw-line; defined but made gentle for her long neck and resolute collar bones.
Her features were supple yet full of character. Her style was hardy yet graceful; put-together, yet effortless. It didn’t take much, he thought to himself.
Next to her, her friend sat swishing her own hair around, giggling profusely and ruffling feathers (or at the very least, the hippy-looking dress she wore) - as though only serving to define the classic beauty of the one he really found rather hard to take his eyes off of.
Today would be long but fun. The weather was perfect - crisp and sunny. The country air made one feel quite alive. Classic Beauty stood up from where she sat on the steps of the mount. “Come on then,” she addressed the group, “this walk’s not going to walk itself!” Everyone slowly meandered towards the pathway where they’d begin their journey. Her mannerisms were confident, he thought, as she put her hands in the pockets of her tweed jacket.
From her tan polo-neck to the jodhpur-style pants and knee-high brown, leather boots she wore, she seemed ready for anything. No less than climbing over fences and muddying those boots.
And later, on the tennis courts, poised in her whites (a dress over which she wore a sleeveless knit v-neck) - boy, could she get that ball over the net.
The day; laughter and activity, slowly came to an end. The group retired to their respective rooms to freshen up for the evening. “Watch it, old boy,” his friend whispered over his shoulder as they embarked the grand staircase towards their quarters, “you are staring somewhat. What is it about her anyway?”
“Haven’t you noticed?” He replied. “It’s like she’s the every-woman. Any situation she’s in, she fits in.”
His friend nodded seriously, “I see. And do you think the same would be of talking?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, it seems to me that beyond just staring at her, you could actually talk to her,” his friend smiled and patted him on the back as they departed ways at the top of the stairs.
The evening rolled towards cocktail hour with everyone gathering in the library by the fire. It was funny to see them all dressed up after being in casuals throughout the day. He stood nervously, glass in hand, waiting for her. He would talk to her this evening, he decided. That was, until a moment later - when she entered the room.
Her hair was up now, boasting that long neck of hers. Her shoulders were exposed. And that dress; long, black velvet with gold chains delicately hugging her open back. Her face was bright, her lips were red. And suddenly, he was once more rendered speechless.
They all left the next day. One by one, the manor house emptied as everyone reluctantly drew the long weekend to a close and made their way back to the city. Of course, she was loading up her Aston no less, with Ralph Lauren leather holdalls. The gravel crunched underneath her boots as she walked towards him. “When are you off?” She asked, approaching nearer.
“Um,” he answered.
“You know, I don’t remember you being this quiet back when we were in school,” she smiled knowingly. They both laughed. He had managed to kiss every girl in her year group, apart from her.
“Yes I suppose you’re right,” he laughed, relaxing through her demeanour. “Listen,” he continued, “I know that you’re a career woman now who I’m sure has little time for a mumbling idiot like me…but, if perchance you did have an hour to spare after work one day…I don’t…I don’t suppose you’d fancy catching up for a drink?” He looked down nervously.
“Oh, I don’t know…” She started as his heart stopped, “I suppose I can make time,” she winked. He exhaled.
She walked back to the car and got in, starting the engine, “see you in New York,” she waved.
As the car drove off, leaving him standing there victorious, he laughed almost in disbelief and muttered to himself, “every-woman”.
Girl in Style Illustration - Ralph Lauren 'Shirt Girl' (past collection)
Thus depicts the Ralph Lauren woman. And this entry, which celebrates the brand’s SS18 show in New York and will go live as the catwalk lights up, serves to tell you the story of that woman - for whom this year marks the 50th Anniversary of her relationship with Ralph and his with her.
For she is not just SS18. Indeed, with the collection’s feminine silhouettes as exemplified in the dress illustrated, SS18 is just one part of a beautiful love affair.
No matter the modernity of the brand’s continuum (each new collection), the trueness of Ralph Lauren’s DNA remains still the lifestyle it perceives.
Girl in Style Illustration - Ralph Lauren 'Gown Girl' (past collection)
Yes, she wears the pretty, feminine dress in Summer but she also wears tweed in Autumn in the country, classic tennis whites on the courts; she’s in a crisp shirt in the City and in the evening, she wears that one gown that makes her look breathtaking.
Ralph’s girls are wholesome.
And each facet of the Ralph Lauren brand, whether Polo, or Lauren or Ralph Lauren Collection, only serves to boast her beauty (which as all of their campaigns will tell you, remains quite simply, classic) - and to compliment her lifestyle (she likely has RL bed linens in her home monogramed with her initials).
We all have a story with Ralph Lauren. If you’re like me, it started at childhood (even down to my boarding school shirts - I am the literal poster child). And what I love the most (sincerely) is that in a world ever-changing, often-ugly-ing and constantly trying to create new things for no reason other than they’re new, Ralph Lauren remains just what it is because it’s the pioneer of style in that sense.
Girl in Style Illustration - Ralph Lauren 'Tweed Girl' (past collection)
I hope that look: the wood-panelled walls, the tweed throws, the navy (God bless the navy), the monochrome or nautical interiors still remains in homes from London to New York City. I hope that I continue to look at Ralph Lauren campaigns and see women who are really just conventionally beautiful and not simply ‘of the moment’ or ‘edgy’ or whatever. I hope she stays wholesome - smart, elegant, fearless, preppy, cool, fun, beautiful and active. Here’s to you Ralph, to the past 50 but more vitally, to the next; because we need her.
We need Ralph’s girls.
Trust me, we’re a pretty awesome lot.
Girl in Style