Ralph Lauren is a household name in the world of fashion. As one of the most outstanding designers of this generation, Lauren has been leading his fashion empire and been a force of an entrepreneur for over half a century, his company celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. His name is often synonymous with iconic menswear, whether that be in the form of luxury suits or classic polos.
PARIS, France – – Born in The Bronx, Lauren has had a whirlwind of a life that has led him to this point in his career. He stepped down as CEO of his namesake company in 2015, but still serves as executive chairman and chief creative officer. Outside of fashion, the designer has also committed to philanthropy, founding and supporting multiple programs committed to cancer research, volunteer opportunities and educational resources.
In celebration of the billionaire designer’s 82nd birthday, AMRAH rounds up 10 must – know facts about the fashion icon.
He started with designing neckties
Lauren started his career as a tie designer. After working for Brooks Brothers as a salesman, he branched odd and started his own company, going store to store selling ties out of a drawer in the Empire State Building. Some of his first ties were made out of old rags. Lauren described them to be ‘wide and unusual’, which helped the ties stand out in the market and become successful.
He changed his last name
Before he became the icon he is today, his last name was initially Lifshitz. At the age of 16, Ralph’s brother Jerry changed their last name to Lauren, as the designer was constantly teased in school for his name.
He is an honorary knight
In a private ceremony, Lauren was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his services to fashion. He was presented with honorary knighthood by Prince Charles in June 2019, which made him the first American designer with the title.
He collects cars
Lauren has an impressive car collection, with over 70 expensive cars features. There is even a portion of the Ralph Lauren website that is dedicated to the massive car collection, and some of the priceless vehicles include a 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa, a 1929 Bentley, and one of the two existing Bugatti type 57SC that is worth $41 million.
He made a surprising cameo on Friends
In Season 5 of the hit show Friends, Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green worked in an executive position for Ralph Lauren. The designer made two cameo appearance in one episode, both instances being in an elevator.
He designed all the menswear in The Great Gatsby
Lauren’s clothes were featured in Jack Clayton’s 1974 adaptation of The Great Garsby, in which leading man Robert Redford dons a wonderful collection of dapper suits. Some of Lauren’s clothes were also featured in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, with Diane Keaton’s character owning a tuxedo jacket from the legendary designer.
He is the only designer to win the CDFA’s top four honors
Lauren is the only designer who has won the fashion equivalent of the EGOT, earning the Lifetime Award, the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, the Menswear Designer of the Year Award, and the Retailer of the Year Award. He was presented with his first Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992 by his close friend Audrey Hepburn, which he stated was his most important award he’s ever won.
He did not invent the polo shirt
Contrary to popular belief, Laurent was not actually the one who invented the polo shirt. It was actually invented by Rene Lacoste in 1926, who though stiff tennis shirts were too uncomfortable. Lauren is , of course, responsible for making the shirt popular, taking up rights in the late ’70s and making them an iconic staple for years to come.
His daughter opened a franchise of candy stores
Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, opened up a chain of candy stores called Dylan’s Candy Bar. Inspired by Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory from a very young age, she spent years in university abroad tasting and discovering new candies, eventually opening up het first store in 2001.
He threw the first pitch at a Yankees Game
Lauren celebrated his brand’s anniversary at a Yankees Game in 2018, throwing the first pitch in celebration. He described it to be one of his fondest memories, and even designed a limited – edition Polo x Yankees collection/