Ralph Lauren plans to unveil his spring women’s collection on Sept. 12 during New York Fashion Week, in keeping with his usual show timing. And just weeks after, Lauren plans to stage a runway show on October 8 just after Paris Fashion Week at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, kicking off a two-year commitment to help restore and modernize the landmark fine arts school. Lauren’s first showing on a European runway will spotlight his fall women’s collection, with the designer also hosting a gala dinner in the school’s picturesque cobble-stoned courtyard.
The École des Beaux-Arts, which has hosted an array of fashion shows and parties over the years, is a sprawling complex of buildings, mainly from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, prized for their elaborate frescoes, moldings and statuary. But much of the building and courtyard is in need of significant restoration, and according to market sources a financial commitment of several million dollars.
Ralph Lauren Corp. plans to maintain its period splendor, the amphitheater is to get improved stadium seating and the latest audio-visual equipment. Lauren has also earmarked funds to modernize the school’s Web site with digital content, along with online classes, workshops and symposiums.
The project spotlights Lauren’s affection for Paris, home to his largest European store, which opened on nearby Boulevard Saint-Germain in 2010 in a restored 17th-century town house. “It’s exciting to come here and bring my style and my flair. Paris has been very receptive,” Lauren said in a 2011 interview. “I feel I’m an international brand today. It’s been our goal to build an international business, with Paris and Europe. I have three stores in Paris now, and that won’t be the last.”