June 2008

Genuine Authentic

Harper Collins

  • 10 East 53rd Street
  • New York , NY

(212) 207-7000

abc Genuine Authentic xyz is the condensed version of a long and successful career lived by top fashion designer Ralph Lauren.  It was Ralph himself that not only built a brand but actually offered a complete lifestyle.  By doing so he formed an empire.  Taking the highly glossed symbol behind the fame of polo, Ralph Lauren created a style one could purchase.  This type of fashion sensibility came with a price that would require its customer to be of a certain status in order to afford the look as a whole.  Taking conservative pieces and adding a touch of modernity, Ralph Lauren’s apparel would become updated with every passing season.  Collections may change in color, texture and even require a slight twist on the silhouette but Ralph Lauren, Inc. would not lose its image and what it stood for.

Ralph Lauren was born Ralphie Lifshitz in the Bronx, New York.  Ralphie’s beginnings were far from the world he would later put together and offer as a product to purchase.  Coming from a lineage of rabbis, Ralphie chose to study business science before entering the military.  During the late fifties and through the sixties, Ralphie Lifshitz worked his way up from sales person to an assistant men’s buyer before establishing himself as a designer.

In 1967, Ralph Lauren would have its start as Polo, a men’s necktie line.  In a matter of only two years, Ralph Lauren would be the first ever to have an in-store designer boutique; Bloomingdale’s Manhattan flagship.  1971 would be not only the debut of his women’s line but also the opening of his first Polo boutique in Beverly Hills.  This would offer Ralph Lauren the claim to be the first of all American fashion designers to have a freestanding store.  The immediate years to follow would present the Ralph Lauren customer a larger selection of products: fragrances, accessories, boys wear and footwear.  Up the now, the Ralph Lauren lifespan has now spilled over into home furnishings and a myriad of other lines; Chaps, Double RL, Polo Sport and several others.

Along his financially successful career life, Ralph Lauren has also won awards for fashion excellence as well as for being a true humanitarian by donating millions of dollars to charity.  Now forty years later and with an estimated 4.3 billion dollar empire, Ralph Lauren chooses to launch a more affordable lifestyle at JC Penney's, allowing everyone to finally afford the chance of participating in the world that Ralph took from vision to reality.  The power of will, thought and deed claims Ralph Lauren as yet another successor of the American dream.

Reviewer: Francisco Platt Murillo, FIDM Library Staff Member