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Sometimes, all it takes is a great navy sweater. At Ralph Lauren there were two: perfect knits worn with crisp white shirts and languid separates. The Ralph Lauren SS16 show made effortless elegance seem easy — why, then, do many others find it so damn hard?

Lauren’s collection took the classic house colours as a chromatic theme and the majority of looks here riffed on a vital tricolour of navy, red and white, with occasional outbursts of multicoloured geometrics. There was more than a whiff of salt-spray about these Riviera-friendly looks: sweaters were nonchalantly slung around the waist, collars popped at the neck and the holiday spirit was further reinforced in the accessories — towering cork wedged sandals, jaunty wicker bags and canvas hold-alls embroidered with parasols and sailing boats.

The silhouette was easy, a pleat-fronted shantung trouser in ivory tapered at the ankle and fastened with a button. It was worn with a navy double-breasted blazer. Very chic. A pair of navy silk cady trousers pooled to the floor, elevated by the glimpse of bright pattern on the side seam. Eveningwear was recast in white and blue stripe shirting and long viscose gowns offered peekaboo cutaways at the waist.

After a nasty start to the year, Ralph Lauren posted slightly better than expected results in August. Net revenues declined 5 per cent in the first quarter but retail sales have been stronger of late and the company is expanding its e-commerce lines alongside bricks and mortar. This was a bold, confident collection of classic looks: the stuff Ralph Lauren does best. The future looks a lot brighter.

For more reports from the New York shows, go to our fashion weeks page on the FT web app, or visit our New York Collections Women SS16 fashion weeks hub on FT.com

Photographs: Catwalking.com

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