Underpinning Lauren’s designs is an unmistakable preference for old-world gentility. In fact, he has made the Ivy League, preppy style his own. “I don’t want to be in fashion – I want to be a fashion,” he once told Vogue magazine. And indeed, the Ralph Lauren look is distinctive, nowhere more purely expressed than in his advertising campaigns that always feature a cast thoroughbred models, often posed as if holidaying in the Hamptons.
Lauren’s entrance into fashion can be traced back to 1964 with Brooks Brothers, and then Beau Brummell Neckwear in 1967, where he designed wide ties. In the following year, the beginnings of what was to become a billion dollar brand took root. The Polo menswear line was launched and in 1970 he won the Coty Menswear Award; Lauren added womenswear to the brand in 1971.
He has been awarded the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1993) along with its menswear designer (1995) and Womenswear designer (1996) prizes. Lauren is also involved in philanthropic activities. The Polo Ralph Foundation organises campaigns such as Pink Pony (2000), which supports cancer care and medically underserved communities.