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Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta ride the Orient Express

By Owen C. Hardy

Detail from “L’Oriental” restaurant car on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

The Orient-Express just arrived: at New York Fashion Week. “Oscar de la Renta must be lusting for travel,” says Hannah Elliott, of “Watching his fall 2011 runway show was like watching landscape change through the window of the Orient Express.”

The metaphor was picked up by  Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, in her description of Ralph Lauren’s styles: “Seemed to guarantee an invitation to the captain’s table on the SS Normandie, or a first class berth on the Orient Express.” The came to the same conclusion: “Ralph Lauren fall 2011 collection rides the Orient Express.”

Oscar de la Renta design-straight out of “The Lady Vanishes?”

Even to my untrained eye, the fashions do seem to evoke the 1930s atmosphere so carefully reconstructed on the present-day Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.

Here’s Ralph Lauren on his new fall collection: “I have always loved the glamor and sophistication of the 1930s and its Art Deco and Chinoiserie influences.”

We may not be fashionistas, but we have this much in common with Mr. Lauren: our favorite diner on the VSOE is “L’Oriental,” which to us looks just like a beautiful, black lacquered Chinese box–or maybe a richly hued Ralph Lauren designer dress.