Ralph Lauren's New Landed Gentry

FWD101 Model walks the runway at the Ralph Lauren show during Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York on Thursday, February 16, 2012. (Fashion Wire Daily/Gruber)

Europe's biggest hit TV series "Downton Abbey," which mightily influenced last month's menswear runway season in Europe, also underpinned a smoothly elegant Ralph Lauren fall 2012 collection, presented Thursday, Feb. 16, in New York.

"Like everyone I am enjoying Downton Abbey, which is very close to my own personal taste. And I think right now it is not the time to be trendy, but to make a timeless statement about heritage," Lauren said, after staging his modern take on landed gentry chic.

That sense of heritage was apparent from the beginning, an ode to Scottish Baronial style - plaid jodhpur pants, mannish shooting jackets finished with shawl collars, cashmere Fair Isle sweaters and lots of shirts with athletically boyish cricket collars.

Much of the tailoring was very masculine and all the better for it, whether a glen plaid three-piece suit, accompanied with a Windsor knot tie and bowler hat or a striking, and matching, revamped Black Watch tartan top coat and pants completed with a lordly top hat.

Staged in a lower Manhattan show-space, the show featured a grand runway entrance with country estate steps, beautifully worn parquet floor and grand chandeliers. And, just in case somebody did not get the references, the music at the finale was the theme to "Downton Abbey."

For evening, one could just imagine the series' heroine Lady Mary Crawley in one of Lauren's divinely cut black silk velvet evening dresses with crystal chokers, while her mum, the Countess of Grantham, would be perfect in the black sable dress with giant metallic bead neckline.

Lauren also injected some smartly done edge - a battered gold leather biker jacket worn over a long dress or a splendid penultimate passage, and a screen goddess golden ostrich feather bolero worn over a fluid black silk column.

Though, on consideration, maybe not enough edge, for the whole collection came across as a tad too restrained. The models did look particularly poised and coiffed and hyper elegant, but there was little feeling of new. Like the TV series, the mood seemed captured in shiny aspic, looking back and not very far forward. Which is surely what fashion is meant to be all about, coming up with something new every six months.