Saturday, February 18, 2012

Men We Love: Ralph Lauren

Lord Lauren in my book

How could we not love Ralph Lauren? Not only did he show a fantastic collection for Fall 2012 last week, he introduced the runway with the theme from Downton Abbey. I understand the audience applauded. Remember, that was before the show. As long as he has been designing it seems Ralph Lauren has never made a misstep. He may have repeated some a few times, but when you are waltzing as beautifully as he, who cares?

First and foremost Ralph, if I may call him by the familiar, loves women. He is not trying to change us or hide us. He understands that we love a bit of dress-up, make-believe or let's-pretend. The New York Times review of the collection was the highest praise I've ever seen them give a designer. They practically annointed him as royalty. Which he is of course. Yes, I know he doesn't design everything, but he has to sign off on it. And if he has a dream, it gets made.
Ralph with the beautiful Mrs. Lauren

It's well-known that Ralph Lauren, far from to-the-manor-born, started life as Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx. He began his haberdashery career as a salesman for a glove manufacturer, then designed ties for a necktie company. In 1967 he founded Polo, whose roots were in the Preppy-English-tweedy look. By the '80s his "empire" included womenswear, children's wear and home goods. If you've ever had the pleasure of visiting a Ralph Lauren emporium, you are taken on a journey of his creating that is a dreamscape of history, art and commerce. His genius has never been as an innovator, but in evocatively reinterpreting lifestyles that may or may not actually have existed. Ralph Lauren more or less perfects the eras he brings to life.

He has been married to the same woman, Ricky, for 47 years, has three beautiful children who have no apparent faults (though daughter Dylan has quite the sweet tooth). He has a daughter-in-law who was a model and niece of a president and is improbably now named Lauren Lauren. He has a gi-normous classic car collection, and I don't know how many homes. Perhaps Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed) belongs to him as well. I deny him nothing. He deserves it all. He makes me that happy.

Was this Ralph's best collection yet?

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