Style.com

Ralph Lauren

From socks to paint, from bedsheets to gold-lamé screen-goddess gowns, the world has bought—and bought and bought—into Ralph Lauren's vision of the good life. What the boy from the Bronx began in 1967 as a collection of fashionably wide ties under the Polo label, he has nurtured into a billion-dollar public company by reimagining the traditional emblems of various iconic elites—not just the WASP aristocracy but also the English country house set as seen through the lens of golden-age Hollywood, the American cowboy, and so on.

Born Ralph Lifshitz in 1939 to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrant parents, as a young man Lauren worked as a tie salesman at the ur-preppy emporium Brooks Brothers. After the ties of 1967, he launched a full-blown menswear collection in 1968 and, a few years after that, introduced the polo shirt that would make him a household name, with its horse-and-rider insignia. Wooing the public with sweeping, cinematic advertisements—nearly always created in collaboration with photographer Bruce Weber—Lauren has convinced millions that they can aspire to a world of romance and jodhpurs if only they wear his brand. Allowing customers lavish glimpses into his own good life (via his five oft-photographed homes, from the Double RL Ranch in Colorado to High Rock in Round Hill, Jamaica), he has mythologized his own lifestyle more effectively than any other modern designer.

Though he began as something of an outsider, Lauren has become the ultimate insider in the galaxy of American sportswear. He has won numerous Coty Awards—the precursor to the CFDA awards, which started in 1981—and taken home eight honors from the CFDA, including the first-ever Legend Award in 2007. That same year, the company celebrated its 40th anniversary with a meticulously art-directed, My Fair Lady-themed black-tie bash under a wisteria-draped arbor in Central Park; New York City granted him special permission to host it there. "He's as American as Coca-Cola!" gushed Diane von Furstenberg, one of many, many famous guests.

If "classic" and "enduring" are appropriate descriptors for Lauren's design goals, they are also apt words to describe his business plan. "I'm not a fashion person. I'm antifashion," Lauren has said. "I have never been influenced by it. I'm interested in longevity, timelessness, style—not fashion."

The sun never sets on the Lauren empire. Valued at about $4 billion today, the company went public in 1997 and encompasses childrenswear, fragrances, cosmetics, and a home collection. In 2006 Time magazine named the designer one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

ALL ON STYLE.COM
ARTICLES
VIDEO

FASHION SHOWS (49)

  1. All Seasons

  2. Ready-to-wear

  3. Resort

  4. Pre-Fall

  5. Menswear

select a collection
  1. Spring 2015 Menswear
  2. Resort 2015
  3. Fall 2014 RTW
  4. Fall 2014 Menswear
  5. Pre-Fall 2014
  6. Spring 2014 RTW
  7. Spring 2014 Menswear
  8. Resort 2014
  9. Fall 2013 RTW
  10. Fall 2013 Menswear
  11. Spring 2013 RTW
  12. Spring 2013 Menswear
  13. Resort 2013
  14. Fall 2012 RTW
  15. Spring 2012 RTW
  16. Fall 2011 RTW
  17. Spring 2011 RTW
  18. Fall 2010 RTW
  19. Fall 2010 Menswear
  20. Spring 2010 RTW
  21. Fall 2009 RTW
  22. Spring 2009 RTW
  23. Resort 2009
  24. Fall 2008 RTW
  25. Fall 2008 Menswear
  26. Spring 2008 RTW
  27. Spring 2008 Menswear
  28. Resort 2008
  29. Fall 2007 RTW
  30. Fall 2007 Menswear
  31. Spring 2007 RTW
  32. Spring 2007 Menswear
  33. Fall 2006 RTW
  34. Fall 2006 Menswear
  35. Spring 2006 RTW
  36. Spring 2006 Menswear
  37. Fall 2005 RTW
  38. Fall 2005 Menswear
  39. Spring 2005 RTW
  40. Fall 2004 RTW
  41. Spring 2004 RTW
  42. Fall 2003 RTW
  43. Spring 2003 RTW
  44. Fall 2002 RTW
  45. Spring 2002 RTW
  46. Fall 2001 RTW
  47. Spring 2001 RTW
  48. Fall 2000 RTW
  49. Spring 2000 RTW
  1. Fall 2014 RTW
  2. Spring 2014 RTW
  3. Fall 2013 RTW
  4. Spring 2013 RTW
  5. Fall 2012 RTW
  6. Spring 2012 RTW
  7. Fall 2011 RTW
  8. Spring 2011 RTW
  9. Fall 2010 RTW
  10. Spring 2010 RTW
  11. Fall 2009 RTW
  12. Spring 2009 RTW
  13. Fall 2008 RTW
  14. Spring 2008 RTW
  15. Fall 2007 RTW
  16. Spring 2007 RTW
  17. Fall 2006 RTW
  18. Spring 2006 RTW
  19. Fall 2005 RTW
  20. Spring 2005 RTW
  21. Fall 2004 RTW
  22. Spring 2004 RTW
  23. Fall 2003 RTW
  24. Spring 2003 RTW
  25. Fall 2002 RTW
  26. Spring 2002 RTW
  27. Fall 2001 RTW
  28. Spring 2001 RTW
  29. Fall 2000 RTW
  30. Spring 2000 RTW
  1. Resort 2015
  2. Resort 2014
  3. Resort 2013
  4. Resort 2009
  5. Resort 2008
  1. Pre-Fall 2014
  1. Spring 2015 Menswear
  2. Fall 2014 Menswear
  3. Spring 2014 Menswear
  4. Fall 2013 Menswear
  5. Spring 2013 Menswear
  6. Fall 2010 Menswear
  7. Fall 2008 Menswear
  8. Spring 2008 Menswear
  9. Fall 2007 Menswear
  10. Spring 2007 Menswear
  11. Fall 2006 Menswear
  12. Spring 2006 Menswear
  13. Fall 2005 Menswear

RELATED ARTICLES (17)

Subscribe to Style.com today!