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1967 - Ralph
Lauren establishes the Polo label with an instantly successful
line of ties. In direct opposition to the narrow ties and conventional
styles of the time, Lauren designs wide, handmade ties using unexpected,
flamboyant, opulent materials. The ties quickly become a menswear
status item. “A tie was the way a man expressed himself. I believed
that men were ready for something new and different. They didn't
want to look as if they worked for IBM. A beautiful tie was an expression
of quality, taste, style." Already interested in promoting a lifestyle
with his ties, Ralph Lauren names his line after a sport that embodies
a world of discreet elegance and classic style: Polo.
1968 - "I
believe in a level of taste, a total feeling. It is important to
show the customer how to wear these ties, the idea behind the look."
His exceptional ties are only the first step. Ralph Lauren is at
the forefront of the men's fashion revolution in America. He is
the first to merge classic American style with the refinement, tailoring
and sensibility of European fashion. Lauren establishes Polo as
a leading menswear company dedicated to providing a total look.
“I never went to fashion school—I was a young guy who had some style.
I never imagined Polo would become what it is. I just followed my
1969 - “My customers
were people who needed a change and didn't know how to do it—people
who were looking for something new, but didn't like the transience
of fashion." Polo by Ralph Lauren establishes the first shop-within-a-shop
designer boutique for men in Bloomingdale's in New York City.
1970 - “I'm
not a fashion person. I'm anti-fashion. I don't like to be part
of that world. It's too transient. I have never been influenced
by it. I'm interested in longevity, timelessness, style—not fashion."
Ralph Lauren wins his first Coty Award for Menswear. (The Coty Awards
became the Council of Fashion Designers of America/CFDA Awards.)
“My wife has great style—she would go into boy's stores for shirts
and hacking jackets, and people always wanted to know where we got
those clothes. Her look reminded me of a young Katharine Hepburn,
sporty and non-fashion—the kind of rebel girl on horseback with
the wind blowing through her hair that people would look at. I designed
the shirts for her." The 1970s open with the introduction of Ralph
Lauren womenswear. Lauren creates a daring line of men's tailored
shirts for women—reinventing a classic men's look for women's style.
The women's line also brings the birth of the polo player emblem.
Originally on the cuff of women's tailored shirts, the now ubiquitous
logo begins the Polo signature status combined with designer appeal.
1972 - Polo's
original mesh shirt with the polo player logo is introduced in 24
colors. No other sport shirt offers the same combination of quality
and variety. The shirt instantly becomes an American classic. Polo
Ralph Lauren romances the preppy heritage of American menswear,
creating what will be a major touchstone for the company in the
years to come. The Polo mesh shirts—along with the oxford button-down
shirts, chinos, tweed jackets, denim and chambray shirts—develop
iconic status as the embodiment of the Polo lifestyle.
1974 - “Gatsby
was this self-made man, and he was all about looking glamorous and
wealthy and mysterious." When Paramount Studios asks Ralph Lauren
to design the men's costumes for Jack Clayton's movie The Great
Gatsby, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, Lauren clothes the
entire male cast in his current line, a 1920s-inflected series of
men's suits and sweaters deeply influenced by the American icons
Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The legendary pink suit
that Lauren designs for Gatsby epitomizes 1920s style—and its popularity
led to a major revival of Ralph Lauren's designs inspired by that
time period. “My clothes are always visions of what I believe in.
Someone once told me I was a writer, and it's true—I write through
my clothes. They're whole stories, not just clothes."
1975 - Ralph
Lauren wins the American Fashion Award. Probably many other
cool things happend at Ralph Lauren as well, but this is all
Apparel Search has for you at the
moment for 1975...
1976 - Ralph
Lauren enters the Coty Hall of Fame for Menswear, and also wins
his second Coty Award for Womenswear, the first time a designer
has won awards for both menswear and womenswear in the same year.
1977 - Ralph
Lauren enters the Coty Hall of Fame for Womenswear.
1978 - Ralph
Lauren makes fashion headlines and captures the country's imagination
with the launch of his Westernwear collections for men and women.
Drawing on our American heritage and his own personal style, Lauren's
Western looks are authentic and highly spirited—including rugged
shearling vests, rancher's jackets, prairie skirts and fringed buckskin.
Inspired by the spontaneous wit, solid design and romance of original
Western clothes, Lauren creates authentic, impeccably made Western
fashions. He is heralded as “the maverick who recaptured America
for America" and starts a Western style stampede throughout the
world. Ralph Lauren, who has always been attracted to and fascinated
by the cowboy mystique, chooses to promote the Westernwear collection
by appearing in the original Westernwear ad campaign, since it is
so clearly related to his personal style.
1979 - “The
multipage ads are like movies, broad strokes of excitement, multidimensional;
if I could have made the models speak, I would have." Polo begins
advertising and catapults the brand into the American consciousness.
Continuing in the spirit of the Polo philosophy that individual
clothes are not as important as the lifestyle and the world they
reflect, Polo pioneers advertising with little or no text, and,
more importantly, a sweeping, cinematic scope. The original 20-page
spreads, all in vivid color, revitalized and energized magazines
with a pageant of seamless worlds and fascinating characters that
consumers could relate to, follow and admire. Often using non-models
in their ads (including Buzzy Kirbox, a surfer, and Tom Moore, an
architect) in real settings, Polo establishes an advertising tradition
that celebrates the entire spectrum of the American experience.
1980 - New York
Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger states that the true design
symbol of the 1980s was not Philip Johnson or Robert Stern—but Ralph
Lauren. “Lauren has become a kind of one-man Bauhaus, a producer
of everything from fabrics to furniture to buildings, all of which,
taken together, form a composite, a fully designed life."
1981 - The Santa
Fe collection debuts. Lauren draws on the patterns and colors of
the Navajo Indians and the American Southwest with concho belts,
petticoat skirts, Indian patterned sweaters and blanket jackets.
As with his Westernwear collection, Lauren captures the essence
of the American cultural experience, forging a connection between
Polo Ralph Lauren and the romance of the American West and launching
a major fashion look with worldwide influence and appeal.
1983 - “This
was a vision of how I would love to live. I wasn't just creating
a sheet—I was creating a complete home, which could reflect the
kind of world people wanted to live in." The Ralph Lauren home collection
debuts. Ralph Lauren makes history as the first fashion designer
to launch an entire home collection. The luxurious line includes
bedding, towels, area rugs, wall coverings and tabletop and table
coverings, which combine to create a timeless, and truly American,
home. In the following years, the Ralph Lauren home collection introduces
expertly crafted furniture, lighting, carpeting, and in 1995, the
Ralph Lauren paint collection. The home collection combines all
the elements the designer is known for: product innovation, color,
exquisite, authentic detailing and an exciting lifestyle approach
to home products.
1985 - Ralph
Lauren begins a partnership with the Telluride Film Festival with
his sponsorship of the Abel Gance Open Air Cinema, a tradition that
continues to this day.
1986 - “To me
it's the most beautiful store in the world: the details, the world
it creates, the mix, the textures…it's a store that has an emotional
impact. I've watched so many people come into it—and be dazzled
when they enter." Polo Ralph Lauren opens a flagship store in the
famous Rhinelander mansion on Madison Avenue at 72nd Street. Originally
designed by Kimball & Thompson in the 1890s for a society matron
who fell into debt during construction, the Rhinelander was never
lived in; it was divided into retail spaces, and it slowly fell
into disrepair for almost a century. When Ralph Lauren takes over
the reconstruction of the Rhinelander as a flagship store, less
than five percent of the building's original interior remains. The
entire building is designed to re-create the classic opulence of
the original mansion. This involves extensive research into what
few original plans and physical evidence could be found, and creatively
piecing them together. The results are stunning. The Polo Ralph
Lauren store raises the bar of the retail experience. Shopping in
the Rhinelander transforms the cinematic feel of Ralph Lauren clothing
and advertising into a physical environment—and tourists come from
all over the world for the thrill of shopping in the mansion. From
the imposing architecture, to the dramatic, rich interior, to the
quality of the sales staff, the Rhinelander mansion is more than
a store, more than a museum—it is the ultimate retail experience.
1991 - Super Sale is initiated; the annual designer sale in Washington,
DC, is sponsored by Ralph Lauren, the Washington Post and Vogue.
The event raised over $3.5 million for research at the Nina Hyde
Center. Super Sale continues until 1998.
1992 - Audrey
Hepburn, one of Ralph Lauren's favorite childhood stars, presents
him with the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award. A recognized leader
in his field, Lauren is the only designer to receive the CFDA's
four highest honors—the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Womenswear
Designer of the Year Award and the Menswear Designer of the Year
Award, as well as Retailer of the Year.
1993 - “I felt
that sports and fitness were going to become the fashion of the
1990s. People were feeling the need to work out; they were changing
into wanting to live not as spectators, but as doers. That was extremely
exciting for me—the rush of wanting to be healthy, the rush of being
strong, active, full of energy, the sense of doing something physical.
I was always athletic…I wanted clothes that would reflect that and
fulfill that need, clothing that was developed with that kind of
activity in mind." The Polo Sport line is introduced as Ralph Lauren
meets the national changing attitude toward fitness and health with
an entire fitness lifestyle. At the same time, the first Polo Sport
store at 888 Madison opens across the street from the Rhinelander
mansion. Polo Sport demonstrates the authenticity of the product
design by becoming the official outfitter of the America team for
the America's Cup. Using the team in its advertising, Polo Sport
raises national awareness for the underdog America team, who go
on to win the America's Cup. Polo Sport line for women launches
1994 - Ralph
Lauren founds, with the CFDA, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, an
international awareness campaign that, to date, has raised over
$10 million from campaigns in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Iceland
and the United Kingdom.
1995 - Polo
Ralph Lauren and Polo Sport the Fitness Fragrance become the title
sponsors of the Polo Sport Race to Deliver, benefiting God's Love
We Deliver, which serves hot meals to homebound people with AIDS/HIV.
This commitment continues to the present.
1997 - Ralph
Lauren receives CFDA's 1996 Menswear Designer of the Year Award.
1998 - Polo
Ralph Lauren announces a corporate gift of $13 million to the Save
America's Treasures Campaign to preserve the Star-Spangled Banner,
which is housed at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum
of American History in Washington, DC. In 1999, the Star-Spangled
Banner Restoration Laboratory opens to the public, allowing the
over 2.5 million annual visitors to the Smithsonian to view the
restoration of the Star-Spangled Banner as it is occurring.
1999 - “The
[Rhinelander] mansion had just opened, and we had a great party.
When I left the party to go to dinner, I thought, ‘Where can I go
now? That will keep my mood like this, keep me feeling good like
this?' The excitement of retailing is that it allows you to bring
your vision into diverse areas; the restaurant is another expression
of that vision." RL restaurant opens in Chicago adjacent to the
flagship store, the largest Polo store in the world. The restaurant,
a glamorous space, is designed with antique furniture and fixtures,
and a private collection of photography, sketches and oil paintings
from the Chicago Historical Society's Archives. The executive chef
is Giancarlo Gottardo. The restaurant is a collaboration between
Ralph Lauren and restaurateurs Nino Esposito and Genarro Vertucci
of New York's Vico, Sette Mezzo and Sette MoMA. The restaurant marks
a foray into new territory.
“I knew I had to start Ralph Lauren Media—it belongs to a new world
I wanted to know. Our goal here is to always stay invigorated, charged
up, more exciting, stay young, stay contemporary." Ralph Lauren
Media opens the Polo.com Web site. For over 30 years, Polo Ralph
Lauren has reflected the American lifestyle on a global scale—now
Polo.com will transform the world of Ralph Lauren from multipage
magazine ads and four walled retail stores into the dynamic full
motion and sound experience of the Internet. Providing services,
content and product sales to an increasing community of users, the
Web site allows Polo Ralph Lauren to create a context around the
products that have defined the Polo Ralph Lauren experience. Microsoft
founder Bill Gates welcomed David Lauren to the stage during the
keynote address at Comdex (Nov. 12, 2000) the largest
gathering of information technology professionals in North America.
The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation establishes the American Heroes
Fund following September 11th, to allow Polo's 10,000 employees
worldwide, as well as their customers, the opportunity to participate
in the relief effort. Polo Ralph Lauren matched employee contributions
dollar for dollar, also donating 10 percent of customer purchases
at Ralph Lauren stores and on Polo.com during the month of October.
The majority of the $4 million raised goes to establishing the American
Heroes Scholarship Program, through the Citizens Scholarship Foundation
of America, which provides college scholarships to children of the
victims. Other beneficiaries include the Twin Towers Fund, the September
11th Fund, the Red Cross, the New York Police and Fire Widows and
Children's Fund, and the New York Police Department Foundation.
2002 - Having
started the company with 26 boxes of ties in 1967, Ralph Lauren
celebrates the 35th anniversary of a now $10 billion global business
that produces designer menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, home
collections and fragrances. The media honors Ralph Lauren with cover
stories in Time magazine (international), Town & Country and
Architectural Digest; an interview in Oprah magazine by the queen
of tv; the Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.
2003 - Discover
the global world of Ralph Lauren by visiting
Polo Ralph Lauren launches Web sites, localized by country, to support
its growing international business. The sites include fashion shows,
local store information, company history, current advertising campaigns
and its exclusive RL Style Guide.
2004 - In October
Ralph Lauren launched Rugby, a full lifestyle collection designed
for men and women ages 16 to 25. The line features iconic rugby
shirts, polos, jackets, suits, dresses, outerwear and accessories.
Rugby is fashion-forward yet grounded in Ralph Lauren's signature
preppy style. The first Rugby store opened on Newbury Street in
Boston on October 23, 2004.
2005 - On March
14, 2005, Polo Ralph Lauren and the United States Tennis Association
(USTA) sign a four year global partnership making Polo Ralph Lauren
the official apparel sponsor of the US Open through 2008. As part
of the partnership all on-court ball persons and officials will
be dressed in specially designed Ralph Lauren apparel. “Polo Ralph
Lauren will bring a new dimension of style to the US Open," says
Arlen Kantarian, chief executive, professional tennis, USTA.
March 29, 2006, a 24,000-square-foot Ralph Lauren flagship store
opens in the Omotesando shopping area of Tokyo, Japan. The store
features the full range of Ralph Lauren designs and merchandise,
as well as an exclusive, limited-edition collection of exquisite
handbags and accessories. “The opening of our Tokyo flagship store
represents a significant milestone for our company. We will create
a statement in Japan that will further advance the world of Ralph
Lauren in this important part of the market where quality and design
are highly valued," says Ralph Lauren.
this profile we could not list every aspect of the development of
this luxury brand and the company behind the label. However,
this should at least give you a small taste. The story and
history of Ralph Lauren is not nearly over.
As in the past,
the company appears to be on a continues road to success.
Here at the Apparel Search Company, we have our hats off to Ralph
Lauren. His product and design has stood the test of time
and will most likely continue in that fashion... We look forward
to enjoying Ralph Lauren for many years to come.