Feb 19, 2015
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Elegance at Ralph Lauren, with Kanye in front row

Feb 19, 2015

NEW YORK, USA - American design royalty Ralph Lauren headlined the last day of New York Fashion Week on Thursday with brown and gray elegance in cashmere and shearling, and menswear-inspired tuxedo suiting for evening.

Rapper Kanye West was the self-invited guest of honor, mobbed by photographers as he took his seat to watch the study in classic American beauty -- while dressed in cargo pants and a bomber jacket, and chewing gum.

Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2015/16 Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week | Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP

But he looked delighted to be there, greeting a star-struck Chirlane McCray, wife of the New York mayor, posing for photographs and getting a picture on his own cell phone with Lauren and his wife after the show.

Lauren presented a long, refined silhouette in brown and gray, with dashes of black, white and cream. The designer, who refuses to use real fur, sent models down the runway in shearling hats, coats, stoles and cuffs.

Cashmere was ubiquitous -- in turtlenecks, cable-knit skirts and sweaters.

Feminine touches came in an embroidered chiffon skirt with feathers, and beaded georgette, and there were cowboy influences in wide-brimmed hats, fringes and tassels.

For evening, Lauren offered tuxedo-inspired trouser suits, tailored to trace the contours of a woman's body, complete with watch-chains and dress shirts, and georgette or tulle-beaded evening gowns.

The 75-year-old designer came out to rapturous applause at the end, kissed his wife and shook West's hand, and walked the length of the runway dressed in his own label's jeans and a plaid shirt.

West has been one of the major celebrity attractions at Fashion Week, grabbing headlines one day by unveiling a collection for Adidas, and then when his 20-month-old daughter North erupted in tears in the front row.

But there was no sign of his reality star wife Kim Kardashian or their daughter at Ralph Lauren, a sophisticated affair and one that is done twice to reach as many fashionistas as possible.

Lauren told AFP after the show that West had wanted to come.

"He asked to come and I've met him before and I was glad to have him," he said. He smiled when asked if he had caught West's Fashion Week debut for Adidas. "No I didn't get a chance, busy working," he said politely.

Lauren told reporters that it was a "very sexy" collection that emphasized "very sharp black silhouettes."

Unlike some younger designers at Fashion Week, Lauren kitted out his woman for fall/winter 2015 in warm fabrics, and he stressed the use of cashmere and fur-like hats made from shearling as practical in cold weather.

The Ralph Lauren show is one of the last before Fashion Week ends on Thursday. Here is a look at other highlights:

- 1940s -

Uber-cool American label Proenza Schouler sought to create clothes with freedom, unveiling a collection inspired by the late 1940s in the former Whitney Museum building on Madison Avenue.

"That was very much our approach this season, going into our fittings just working with some classic kind of shapes," said designer Jack McCollough.

"Going in, cutting things and adding panels, let them fall, kind of let them do their thing. Taking dresses that would seem otherwise quite constricted and going and slashing," he added.

- Hippy chic -

Anna Sui sent a beautifully choreographed collection down the runway with a 1970s hippy vibe, a riot of color and texture with quirky sunglasses, diver-style goggles and knitted Viking hats.

The models strutted down the catwalk to the tunes of Abba and the "Queen of the Night" aria from Mozart's "The Magic Flute."

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