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Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifschitz on October 14, 1939) is an American fashion designer and business executive.
Ralph J. Lauren was born in the New York City borough of The Bronx to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants Fraydl (Kotlar) and Frank Lifshitz, a house painter. His life has many parallels to Robert Denning, the interior designer. Both grew up without fashion, but went on to create and market a lifestyle of society, old money and country club style. Although neither had any exposure to this world as a child, each was able to visualize and create his dream. For Lauren this look would eventually become Polo Ralph Lauren.
From a very young age, he started working after school to earn money to buy suits that were stylish, expensive suits with an early preference for quality over quantity. His attire soon gave him a trendy reputation among his peers. Calvin Klein, a younger contemporary also lived in the same Bronx neighbourhood, but it is not believed that they ever met while living there.
He went to the Baruch College where he studied Business and dropped out after two years. From 1962 to 1964, he served in the United States Army. After his discharge, in 1968, he married Ricky Low-Beer. He did not attend fashion school, but worked for Brooks Brothers as a salesman and then created the label Polo, a necktie business. He later purchased this name from his initial backer, Norman Hilton. Lauren's fashion empire has since grown into a billion-dollar business.
In 1984 he recreated the Rhinelander Mansion, a former home of the photographer Edgar de Evia and Robert Denning, into the flagship store for Polo Ralph Lauren. This same year de Evia photographed the cover feature story for House & Garden on the Lauren home Round Hill in Jamaica, which had formerly been the home of Babe and Bill Paley. .
Ralph and his wife, Ricky, have two sons and a daughter: Andrew, David, and Dylan Lauren. David is an executive at Polo Ralph Lauren. Dylan owns and operates an upscale candy store, Dylan's Candy Bar, at 59th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan. Ricky appeared on the television show Martha on December 10th 2006 and stated that her son Andrew is in the "movie business".
Lauren is also well-known as a collector of classic automobiles. His cars have won best in show at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance multiple times. His collection was recently displayed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
By 2007 Ralph Lauren had boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Boston, East Hampton, NY, Southampton, NY, Manhasset, Short Hills, NJ, Princeton, NJ, San Francisco, Bal Harbour, and Honolulu.Wikimedia Commons has media related to:Ralph Lauren car collection
There has been some confusion over the pronunciation of Ralph Lauren; some pronounce it like the last name of actress Sophia Loren (la-WREN), while others pronounce it like the name Lauren (LÔR-ən), but the latter pronunciation is correct. On her website, Jenny Lauren, Ralph Lauren's niece, clarifies this issue, saying that it is pronounced "like a girl's first name."
In the NBC television sitcom Friends, Rachel worked for Ralph Lauren's corporate office in the final two seasons, and the climax of the final episode involved Rachel deciding whether to take a job in Paris or stay at Ralph Lauren in New York. Ralph Lauren played himself twice during the show.