Ralph Lauren very at home at the English manor

AP News

2/16/2012 6:48:14 PM - AP News

Ralph Lauren and refinement go together like England and tweed. They all rendezvoused on the runway Thursday at New York Fashion Week.

"I have always loved the heritage and romance of England. My collection for fall 2012 is about a modern glamour inspired by timeless character and refined elegance of an authentic way of living," Lauren said in an email to the Associated Press.

To the music of "Downton Abbey," a popular PBS show about a British manor in the World War I era, models began their parade in riding clothes _ plaid jodhpurs, houndstooth coats, Fair Isle sweaters and button-down shirts with contrasting white club collars _ and ended in slinky evening gowns with jeweled collars.

There was variety in the silhouettes, with trousers, for example ranging from wide-leg pleated pants to slim cuts, and there were tailored jackets long and short. One of the most striking looks was an animal-print shearling jacket. The new version of the pantsuit was a below-the-hip lean blazer with skinny pants in the same plaid pattern but different scales.

The Ralph Lauren lady _ and she is very ladylike even in man-tailored styles _ relaxes at home in a black velvet smoking robe with a bright-red shearling collar, but when it's time for an appointment in town she looks like a million bucks in her black cashmere jacket, sequin-front cashmere sweater and high-waist pencil skirt.