Ralph Lauren, 1983

Kristin Clotilde Holby for Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 1983.

Ralph Lauren apparently thought he was opening up new vistas when he chose the Seventh Regiment Armory as the site of his fall fashion show, and certainly its vast space could accommodate the crowds. But you couldn’t reach out and touch the clothes or even tell for sure what they were made of. It wasn’t a cozy atmosphere and probably neither Christian Dior’s New Look collection nor Yves Saint Laurent’s rich peasant clothes could have survived this arena.

But Mr. Lauren certainly tried. He sent out on the runway what some spectators felt were three different collections, not counting the men’s clothes, which were interspersed with the women’s fashions.

The first scene was a family affair and the liveliest. It consisted of ski clothes for a family in which everybody goes to the slopes. The most interesting designs were the hand-knit sweaters with colorful cartoons of skiers decorating the fronts.

After that initial exuberance, the mannequins affected a slouchy, casual stance well suited to the understated clothes that seemed directed at the horsy set. Except for a few long pleated skirts that looked attractive with navy Shaker-knit pullovers and tweed jackets, pants were worn with everything, including good-looking casual double-breasted coats.

The tailored coat-dresses that Mr. Lauren pioneered are back in single-and double-breasted versions in gray flannel and brown tweed. The tailored clothes were followed by playful brightly colored ponchos over hooded tops and jersey pants and by equally bright suede tunics. Then came the evening clothes.

from FALL FASHION: SERIOUS ABOUT SPORTSWEAR by BERNADINE MORRIS for NYT April 27, 1983

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