NEW YORK — Ralph Lauren brought all the glamour that the Wild West probably never had to the runway on the final day of Spring-Summer 2011 New York Fashion Week.
The always influential Ralph Lauren show Thursday was a must for an army of fashion editors and buyers from Europe, Japan and Russia, not to mention representatives from big luxury clothing chains like Sak's, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale's.
The most American of designers did not disappoint. His Western-cum-Victorian theme made a fantasy world out of Indians and pioneers with stylish squaws in tasseled white leather jackets and long fringed white skirts.
They wore silver around their necks, often with dog collar necklaces, and crystals and turquoise encrusted on the buckles of their big leather belts.
White dresses had the faded look that might come with a very elegant version of frontier life, complete with Victorian-era high necks and lace.
And the fringes never stopped, adorning everything from ivory shirts to silvered dresses.
The designer, who turns 71 in October, won an ovation from his many admirers as he appeared at the end of the show in leather trousers and white shirt.
New York's own Isaac Mizrahi also showed on the final day of the week, which was held this year for the first time in the Lincoln Center, home of the Big Apple's preeminent performing arts institutions.
Mizrahi's models followed the general tone of the season with clear colors, femininity and refined elegance, a line that bored some of the more demanding observers, but was popular with buyers from the big stores.
Following Mizrahi came another American fashion giant, Calvin Klein, with yet another minimalist celebration of simple lines, white and then more white.
While focus this week concentrated mostly on adult clothing, designers and fashionistas made it clear that children need to dress up too.
"We see lots of mothers and daughters that come together," said Jessica Igoe, who runs the American Express box at Fashion Week, a key spot for the company's top clients who can take in shows there while munching on macaroons.
"I am amazed to see how the young kids are dressed," she told journalists.
Designers here with children's lines include Burberry, Gucci, Armani and Stella McCartney, who has just announced a forthcoming "kids" label starting in November.
According to Euromonitor International, which watches consumer trends, children's clothing sales should grow 12 percent this year to 4.13 billion dollars. The figure was 3.69 billion dollars between 2007 and 2009, rising 13 percent.
And it isn't just about clothes for the playground. Gucci is preparing an under-eight line complete with belts, jewels and sunglasses ready for spring 2011.
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