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Designer Ralph Lauren

Updated on August 11, 2013

American Designer Ralph Lauren

Born in nineteen thirty-nine Ralph Lauren began business in a way which is quite unusual. At night school he studied art and during the day was employed by Brooks Brothers. With fifty thousand dollars he borrowed from a financier, he founded Polo with his sibling. A wide store selection carried his ties including Bloomingdales in the latter years.

Early Years

Best known for his clothing brand Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren was born Ralph Lifschitz and is a business executive and designer of fashion. Born in New York’s Bronx area to immigrants who were Jewish, Ralph Lauren attended MTA School and sold neckties to classmates. In his yearbook he stated that he wanted to make millions. He also attended Baruch College where he took up businesses and later served in the US Army. Although he did not attend any school for fashion, he did work as a salesman for Brooks Brothers. Later, with Norman Hilton, a clothing manufacturer’s backing; he opened a store for neckties where he sold his own designed neckties with the Polo brand. Later, he got the Polo trademark rights from Brooks Brothers.

COTY Award

In the seventies, Ralph Lauren won a menswear line COTY award and soon after released a women’s suits line which were tailored in the classic style of men’s suits, which was when the emblem of Polo was seen for the first time on the women’s suit’s cuffs. The famous mesh shirt with short sleeves was also released with the logo of Polo in nineteen seventy-two. This soon became a classic and came out in twenty-four colors. For his designs, he gained recognition after getting a contract to clothe the characters in The Great Gatsby movie.

Rhinelander Mansion

In nineteen eighty-four, he re-styled the Rhinelander Mansion, which was Robert Denning and Edgar de Evia’s former home. He turned this into the flagship store for Polo Ralph Lauren. Later, the Round Hill, Jamaica Lauren home was featured as a story for House and Garden by Evia. This was the home of Bill and Babe Paley previously. In nineteen ninety-seven, Polo Ralph Lauren became a publicly traded company under the NYSE under the RL symbol. By the time two thousand seven came around, there were thirty-five boutiques in the USA, as well as twenty-three locations carrying the label of RL including Troy, Montreal, Short Hills, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Palm Beach, New York, Manhasset, Las Vegas, Houston, Honolulu, Denver, Dallas, Costa Mesa, Chicago and Washington DC.

Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur

In the year two thousand ten, Nicolas Sarkozy the French President awarded Ralph Lauren with the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur in Paris.

Car Collection

Well known for his automobile collection, some of Ralph Lauren’s cars are quite a rarity. Many of his seventy cars are held in his Katonah, New York estate. He owns 3 McLaren F1s, 2 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas and a ’62 Ferrari 250 GTO among others. In ’11 seventeen cars from his collection were in an exhibit at Paris’ Musee des Arts Decoratifs.


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