Below, the arcade under the overpass had been divided into a runway and covered with overlapping magic carpets, Persian and otherwise, and once the or so guests had finally been ferried to their seats below the Minton tiled ceiling — once Anne Hathaway had stopped schmoozing with Tom Hiddleston, and everyone had congratulated Thom Browne on selling his company to Ermenegildo Zegna — models began to descend the sweeping staircase in pairs.
There were men and women, old and young, outfitted in Mr. All of it mixed together in a signature stew. Later, an entire community of models from babies to grandparents appeared in pieces from the Polo collection, a pointed if unspoken ode to diversity and inclusion, in clothes as in life. There were more than looks in all, but it was the haute patchwork gowns collaged together from scraps of tapestry brocade and velvet, dripping silk fringes at the seams, that summed it up best: a career as a collage of what once caught our collective imagination, refined over seasons.
But what this show suggested, as Ms. Winfrey pointed out later in her toast, before the tomato salad and burrata arrived, before the steak from Mr. You care about integrity.
Integrity — a word we need more of. Ironically, for a designer who never had much truck with irony, life itself has suddenly caught up to Mr. Lauren, casting his clothes and what they represent in a new light.
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Even if the night itself seemed somewhat unreal, even if it felt like nothing so much as the gorgeously designed end of an era. Ask not for whom the trolley bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
Vanessa Friedman is The Times's fashion director and chief fashion critic. She was previously the fashion editor of the Financial Times.
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