“My son’s walking today,” the well-known singer says,
“I’m very excited for him. He has a great personality.”
Then she adds: “He’s three.”
The catwalk show for children, featuring for the first time both boys and girls, was staged by Ralph Lauren, and starred the children of famous parents.
Before the show, guests and parents chatted in the library’s lobby while trays of nibbles – mini burgers and cheeses – and fruit punch were served.
As comic actress Ali Wentworth said of the evening’s child stars: “This is all about them. Even the burgers are too small for me.” (Though white wine was available for some thirsty parents.)
“She’s more excited about staying up late more than anything else,” said the Sopranos’ star Edie Falco, pointing to her six-year-old daughter, Macy, who was doing some pirouettes before the show (she would not be walking in it). “Watching these little kids on the runway is pretty extravagant. They’re breathtaking.”
As her daughter spun around, there was something a little strange in the air: all of the children were remarkably well behaved. There were no tantrums.
The children attending the show were no different from the ones walking in it.
“I find it all very relaxing,” said actress Uma Thurman, the evening’s host.
The children’s show is something of a tradition for Ralph Lauren.
“One of the first people to be in our show was Jennifer Connelly,” said David Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s son and an executive vice-president at the company. “You never know what career might be launched here. Alicia Keys is with her son. We’re grooming some talent here.”
Other children just wanted to shop.
“When we got the invitation this year, they said, ‘Oh, my God, we have to go,’ ” said Ms Wentworth, referring to her daughters, ages 11 and eight.
“They love a Ralph Lauren fashion show. They check things off.”
The underage models had a difficult task ahead: walk from one end of the runway, and back again, under hot lights in front of 200 people.
“It’s a very long walkway,” David Lauren said. “Especially when you’re two-foot tall. It’s almost a city block.”
As the children came out (there were 61 looks for the autumn 2014 Ralph Lauren children’s wear collection), they were met with rapturous applause.
For a bow, Ralph Lauren himself walked out with two children: Ms Keys’ son, Egypt, and Angela Wang, the five-year-old daughter of Wang Yuelun and Li Xiang, all of them reality television stars in China.
Afterward, the cast from Matilda performed two songs and sweets from a New York boutique confectioner were wheeled out. With the clock now pushing past 8pm, would the children finally lose their composure? It was not to be.
Ms Keys grabbed a little bag of sweets for Egypt, who was getting sleepy, and walked out.
They were followed by the little boys and girls of Ralph Lauren, who cleared the room and quietly skipped down the steps of the public library.