NEW YORK — Much of life these days is grinding. The news cycle brings no respite, not even for the young and affluent segment of the urban population not currently setting their footwear alight. Same is true for those of an aging generation who saw their hopes for tomorrow run aground on the shoals of November 2016. What could have been now seems distant, impossible even. Friday night in Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace and Fountain provided an opportunity for the many great and good to celebrate someone whose lifetime achievements recall a fonder, gentler time for America, and perhaps even hold out promise for renewal one day.

As dusk settled over Central Park Friday evening and the likes of Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg gathered, the occasion could belong to only one person, Ralph Lauren. The boy from the Bronx celebrated a half century for his signature label and all stops were duly withdrawn to pay fitting tribute. This staggering achievement of inestimable proportion is worthy of every superlative, not least for the unlikelihood that it will ever be achieved by anyone from a newer generation. Times have changed so markedly that even three years seems lengthy. What has emerged over the 50 years of Ralph Lauren is an uncompromising commitment to a vision that embraces diversity across ethnicity and age. That such principles sound bold, merely reflect the times in which we live.

On the night eight models from across the Next global network featured including Maria Miguel, Gena Malinin, Cara Taylor, Lineisy Montero, Blanca Padilla, Marjan Jonkman, Paris Brosnan, and Lucia Lopez. Paris for his part was pleasantly surprised by his father, Pierce Brosnan, who ghosted into the show unbeknownst to his son. Both were thankful to Ralph Lauren for making this reunion possible. Raise those glasses, raise them high, to 50 years of Ralph Lauren.

Credits include: Client, Ralph Lauren; Collection, Women’s and Men’s Ready-To-Wear Fall 2018; Creative design, Ralph Lauren; Styling, Michel Botbol; Hair, Guido Palau; Makeup, Tom Pecheux; Casting, Piergiorgio Del Moro, Samuel Ellis; Film, Damien Neva at Next Management.