NEW YORK - Basic means something else when you're Ralph Lauren. It means silver-sequined slashed jeans, organza "work-shirt" dresses and even a metallic blue-lame gown with all the trademark details of coveralls.
Lauren, who embodies the classic American sportswear look, said he wanted to craft spring-season clothes at New York Fashion Week that reflected the "resilient spirit" of the nation - and its work ethic.
He seemed keenly aware of how the economy has beaten up on the fashion industry, especially the luxury market where his runway collection operates.
Lauren's solutions? Dig in, then dig out.
"Hard times seems to sharpen our capacity for idealism and our optimism that tomorrow will be a better day," he explained in his notes. "I am inspired by the character of the worker, the farmer, the cowboy, the pioneer women of the prairies living authentically through challenging times."
The simplest looks on the catwalk, which was lined with the Lauren clan and Janet Jackson, were the floral dresses that featured sweet, delicate floral prints reminiscent of those farm wives wore in the 1930s.
Denim isn't unusual in the Lauren collection and it's what the designer himself seems most comfortable in, but it was more dominant than usual with silhouettes ranging from a tailored, suit-style jacket to rolled-ankle work jeans. Lauren wore jeans and a cowboy belt to take his bow to the sounds of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."
The blue hues of denim then transitioned into silk charmeuse, including a chic ombre outfit with a work shirt and carpenter pants - tabs and all.
The banker is also a central figure in the picture Lauren painted, and surely the pinstripe pantsuits were inspired by them.
The real highlights were the outfits that somehow seamlessly mixed the two worlds of luxury and the everywoman: a pink gauze gown with silver embroidery worn with an indigo-coloured striped jacket and a sheer blue tulle tunic - also embroidered - worn over jeans.
Asked if she had a favourite look, Jackson graciously answered, "I love them all."