Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

American designer and businessman.
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Ralph Lauren
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Early Career and Success
  4. Business Success and Philanthropy
  5. Personal Life and Family
  6. Philanthropy and Health Issues

Biography of Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is best known for his company, 'Ralph Lauren', which is a global enterprise with billions in revenue. As one of the wealthiest individuals in the United States and the 155th richest person in the world, Lauren has also gained recognition as a collector of rare automobiles. According to Forbes, his net worth was estimated at eight billion dollars in 2015.

Ralph Lauren

Early Life and Education

Ralph Lauren, originally named Ralph Lifshitz, was born on October 14, 1939, in the Bronx, New York City. He grew up in a large family of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Before attending Talmudic Academy, Lauren graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957. His heroes at the time were figures like John F. Kennedy and James Stewart. Reflecting on his ambitions back then, Ralph stated that he hoped to become a "movie star" type of person. He studied business at Baruch College but left after two years. From 1962 to 1964, he served in the United States Army and briefly worked as a sales assistant for Brooks Brothers.

Ralph Lauren

Early Career and Success

In 1966, at the age of 26, Ralph Lauren, who had been successful in selling ties since his academy days, became inspired to create a "wider tie" in the European style. He saw such an accessory on Douglas Fairbanks Jr. However, Lauren's idea was rejected by his employers, which led him to establish his own tie company. The turning point in his career came when he met Norman Hilton, who invested 50 thousand dollars in the aspiring designer. Ralph began producing his ties under the label 'Polo' in 1967. Later, he acquired the rights to use the 'Polo' trademark from Brooks Brothers. In 1971, he expanded his product line and opened his first boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Lauren received the 'COTY Award' for his men's clothing line in 1970. During this period, he also started producing women's suits designed in a classic men's style, with the 'Polo' emblem appearing on the suit cuff. In 1972, Ralph introduced his famous short-sleeved pique shirts and presented the first women's collection under the name 'Ralph Lauren'. His models, available in 24 different colors, became a true classic. Having made a name for himself in the fashion world, Lauren received a commission to create stylish clothing for the movie 'The Great Gatsby' in 1974 and for Diane Keaton's character in the comedy-drama 'Annie Hall' in 1977. In 1984, Ralph converted the Rhinelander Mansion, the former residence of photographer Edgar de Evia and interior designer Robert Denning, into the flagship store 'Polo Ralph Lauren'. In the same year, de Evia took photographs for a cover story in 'House & Garden' magazine about Lauren's Jamaican home, which was once owned by William S. Paley.

Business Success and Philanthropy

On June 11, 1997, the corporation 'Ralph Lauren' became a publicly traded company, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the abbreviation RL. Within ten years, there were over 35 Ralph Lauren boutiques in the United States. In January 2010, 'The Financial Times' reported that Ralph Lauren's company earned five billion dollars in profit for the year 2009. Lauren was awarded the Legion of Honor in 2010 by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. In 2014, he received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. Ralph Lauren is also well-known for his car collection, some of which are considered gems of the automotive industry. With approximately 70 cars, he keeps most of them on his estate in Katonah, New York. His collection includes a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, two Ferrari 250 Testa Rossas, and three McLaren F1s from 1996. One of the McLaren F1s is the ultra-rare F1 LM edition. Additionally, his collection features a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, Blower Bentley from 1929, Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, and Porsche 997 GT3 RS. It also includes a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK, Lamborghini Reventón, and the rare Reventón Roadster. Ralph's cars have won numerous awards at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. In 2005, his collection was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Seventeen cars from his collection were displayed at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris in 2011.

Personal Life and Family

On December 20, 1965, Ralph married Ricky Anne Loew-Beer, whom he had met six months earlier at an optometrist's reception. Ricky Anne is the daughter of Catholic Margaret Vytouch and Jew Rudolf Loew-Beer. Ralph kept it a secret from his parents that his chosen one was only half Jewish and that her mother was of non-Jewish origin. The couple has three children. Andrew Lauren, born in 1969, became a film producer and actor. David Lauren, born in 1971, is currently the Senior Vice President of Advertising, Marketing, and Corporate Communications at 'Polo Ralph Lauren'. In 2011, David married Lauren Bush, the niece of former United States President George W. Bush. The third son, Dylan Lauren, was born in 1974. She owns 'Dylan's Candy Bar', one of the largest candy stores in New York City.

Philanthropy and Health Issues

In early 1987, Ralph Lauren was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor in April of the same year. Lauren is a co-founder of the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University. He has also been the driving force behind the annual 'Fashion Targets Breast Cancer' charity event since 1994. Donating funds for charitable purposes, Lauren stated in May 2014, "I don't like people calling me a philanthropist. I prefer to call it something that comes from the heart."