Ralph Lauren is an entity that has changed the face of American lifestyle. The celebrated designer who took inspiration in American folk art, rich heritage of native craftsmanship and East coast peppiness continues to carry the themes to streets and big cities with his timeless collections. Ralph’s prominence includes familiarity and approachability that has been striking a delicate balance for half a century.
Ralph tapped into different sections of the American experience, that have seeped into every corner of the nation. From high-end suiting to humbly priced workwear that evokes glamour, sophistication, and aspiration – he pushed the envelope and interpreted what American style can look like and made his influence timeless in the process.
Here are Ralph’s most seminal moments from the past decades.
The birth of a classic - Polo T-shirt
Ralph Lauren started his career by working for a tie manufacturer. He started designing ties during the early days when his company was in the making. It was then that Ralph found his hallmark design that became the ultimate turning point in his journey. The timeless button down silhouette with its sharp collar and vibrant colours became one of the most beloved pieces in his collection. Five decades later, the polo t-shirt remains the chief pick.
The Great Gatsby spin
Ralph Lauren was asked to design classic American upper-class chic for the male cast members of the 1974 Jack Clayton directorial. Ralph, a budding designer then, made the most of the unparalleled opportunity and crafted upper class glamour costumes that have successfully stood the test of time. The suits from the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby is fondly remembered to date.
Needle on women’s suiting
One extraordinary feat from Ralph Lauren during his initial years of his fashion journey was his men’s-wear-as-women’s-wear style. In addition to the Polo, he made a name for himself with his popular suit for women that was tailored more like the men’s suit. Around the 70s, he launched another clothing line of men’s-wear-as-women’s-chic look. It became iconic and was popularised by Diane Keaton in Allen’s 1977 film Annie Hall.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Academy in bubble-gum pink
Perhaps, Ralph Lauren’s most memorable red-carpet moment. In 1999, Gwyneth Paltrow won the best-actress Academy Award for Shakespeare in Love. Raph dressed her for the big night in a simple, spaghetti-strapped bubblegum-pink gown. This one is regarded as Paltow’s best known and memorable looks.
RL in Olympics
It was no surprise that the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics had US team uniforms crafted by Ralph. After the success of his clean, crisp, and the iconic uniform designs in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He started designing uniforms with the 2005 US Open and Wimbledon 2006. Ralph again curated the uniforms for the U.S. Olympians competing in London. The designs were well received and deserved a gold medal of their own.