Ralph Lauren Purple Label Fall/Winter 2018 Milan

By Samantha Conti – The team at Ralph Lauren knows what it’s doing when it comes to castings: Models at the brand’s grand palazzo had matinee idol looks, with more square jaws per square foot than in any other showroom — or runway — in Milan.

Dressed in the fall collection’s clothes, they had a cinematic look, as if they were extras plucked from the party scenes in “Downton Abbey,” or even “The Crown,” what with all the military tailoring and shiny buttons and buckles.

It was a handsome collection — if a bit too literal in its military references — and hit all the right moments — evening, great outdoors, seaside and city. There were velvet collars and tartan cashmere suits for evening reels in Scottish stately homes, dark jackets with frogging and a naval officer jacket, complete with a buckled belt.

More military references popped up as red chevrons on the sleeves of a navy peacoat while a greatcoat came with epaulettes and shiny brass buttons. Sturdy sweaters had buttons running down the shoulder or toggles at the front, while trousers flashed with anchor belt buckles. An aviator-style shearling added another layer of military reference.

Suits were done in suede — an olive one was particularly nice — or in a plethora of classic men’s wear checks and patterns – Prince of Wales, houndstooth and herringbone. The collection was at its best, however, when it relaxed a little and took inspiration from the man himself. Among the best looks here was a cool black turtleneck embroidered with Ralph Lauren’s profile in white, and a tuxedo shirt paired with a Concho belt and worn-in denim.

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