PHOTOS: Ralph Lauren Takes A Ride On The Orient Express

We know we’ve spent a fair amount of this week complaining. We’ve complained about the lines, we’ve complained about the subway, and we’ve complained about the rude publicists who talk down to us and belittle our site. But at the end of the day, it’s a pretty darn cool week to complain about — and when it caps off with a show like Ralph Lauren‘s Fall 2011 collection, all of the walking, lugging, and begging all of a sudden seems worthwhile.

We mentioned this last season, but the atmospheric difference at Ralph Lauren is astounding. It’s palpably civilized, politely organized, and almost tranquil. What is it about Ralph Lauren the man and/or the collection that makes everyone all of a sudden take three deep breaths and start to behave themselves? It might be the pointed dearth of celebrities — no need for camera mobs on the runway — but even fashion’s most famous (like Anna, Andre, Grace, and Mr. Zee) were left quietly alone in their front row seats. Regardless, we’re not complaining.

In a swift departure from his western-themed spring collection, Lauren went east — far east — with a show that opened with three asian models in a row set to a Ryuichi Sakamoto song from Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence as well as a cover of David Bowie’s “China Girl.”

The theme was instantly obvious, though Lauren’s hand was subtle enough to not be too literal. Luminous fabrics and sinuous lines graced the almost entirely black collection — though pops of emerald green, coral red, and royal purple color came through in coats, dangling jewelry, and dramatic heels. Mr. Lauren’s version of Asia has more in common with a 1960’s ride on the Orient Express than with the Hong Kong of today, but it’s no less inspiring. And while his designs may not elicit the same game changing clamour as, say, Marc Jacobs‘, there’s something to be said for doing something so consistently and aspirationally well.

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