Ralph Lauren embraces the American West _ and fast fashion

The Ralph Lauren collection is modeled during Fashion Week, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Ralph Lauren built a greenhouse outside his Madison Avenue store to show his new collection, a luxurious take on the American West that was available immediately for purchase _ a nod to changing consumer habits

NEW YORK — Call it "fast fashion," ''runway-to-retail," or "see now-buy now." No matter the term, it's the unmistakable trend in fashion, and Ralph Lauren embraced it fully — presenting his New York Fashion Week collection on the street outside his store, then inviting guests inside to buy what they'd just seen.

"Today I am proud to share with you, for the first time ever, my new women's collection right off the runway and into your lives," the venerable designer wrote in a statement. "You are changing the way you live and the way you want to shop, and we are changing with you and for you."

Lauren's runway show Wednesday evening had the added cachet of literally stopping traffic — the block of Madison Avenue fronting his store was closed off for the glamorous event, held in a temporary glass structure that resembled a greenhouse.

But it wasn't plants people came to see. It was Lauren's luxurious take on the American West, complete with fringed jackets, embroidered western-style shirts, southwestern ponchos, macrame and cowboy hats. Model-of-the-moment Kendall Jenner wore a bomber-style leather jacket with a western belt and black pants.

"I have always been inspired by the rugged beauty and romance of the American West," Lauren wrote. "The September Collection is imbued with that spirit, but reinterpreted in a modern glamorous way for the woman whose style is both personal and luxurious."

Guests at the show included actresses Julianne Moore and Jessica Alba. Moore marveled afterward that the show had taken place "on the actual sidewalk." She added: "I was thinking, oh my gosh, this is the cleanest sidewalk I have ever seen in New York!"

Moore also marveled that she had walked into the store afterward and "walked right up to that black and white shirt — I was, 'Wow, look at that.'" Traditionally, items seen at Fashion Week shows take months to make it into stores. But a number of designers have been trying to sell at least some of their items right away, knowing that consumers are less patient now than they used to be.

The runway show began with a slew of items in black, tan, white and brown. It was only toward the end that bright color suddenly popped up — shimmery, slinky dresses in purple, deep pink, red, yellow and bright blue.

At the end, Lauren — in washed-out jeans and a work shirt — came out for his customary wave to the crowd, stopping to make a happy gesture that resembled a flamenco move.

Then he retreated into his store, where champagne and caviar — and the new clothing, of course — awaited the invited guests.


Associated Press writer Gina Abdy contributed to this report.

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