Why it took me so long to add this Ralph Lauren landmark book to my collection, I can’t really say. Especially that this is such a rare peek into the mind and world of Ralph Lauren. And especially that, of all the fashion designers that I admire, the one that has truly had an influence on my personal style is Ralph Lauren. He writes and directs such beautiful stories through his collections, that I don’t need his designs to be described in words to me. But when everything that I believe in when it comes to style is written black on white by the designer himself, then you might understand my affinity for Ralph, for his work and for this book.
Through beautiful pictures from his personal archive, cinematic campaign photography and Ralph’s candid words, the book eloquently encapsulates the essence of Ralph Lauren: the man, the style and the lifestyle. In the first part, we get to know the designer through never-before-released photos of him and his family in the privacy of their homes and lives. In the second chapter, Ralph introduces us to his most iconic styles and the things that have influenced them. In chapter three, the designer tells us about his heroines, the stars of his movies that are his collections. And the final part is dedicated to the history of the brand, a retrospective of the designer’s work, from the launch of his necktie line under the label Polo, back in 1967, to every milestone of his fashion house.
A reflection on believing in what you do and never giving it up, on doing everything out of passion, on never taking anything for granted, on consistency and integrity, on authenticity, on a deeply rooted sense of family, on seeing the world your own way, on self-expression, on designing without fashion in mind, on style and values and things that last, on clothes made for real life and work, on beauty that comes from an inner confidence and that has a quality of understatement, on living the best life you can.
“During the past decades, perhaps no person has had such an impact on the way we live. […] Ralph has given American design a distinctive point of view and dignity.” (Foreword by Audrey Hepburn: her speech on Ralph Lauren, at the Presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Council of Fashion Designers of America awards ceremony, New York City, February 3, 1992)
Have a beautiful week!
photos of the book Ralph Lauren, by Ralph Lauren, taken by me / photo credit: 1-Deborah Turbeville / 2-Bruce Weber, Amagansett, NY, 1976 / 3- left and right: Bruce Weber, Bedford, NY, 1998 / 4-left: Bruce Weber, 2002, Montauk; right:Tony Edgeworth, 1982, Amagansett, NY / 5-Bruce Weber, Palm Springs, CA, 1988; Model Isabelle Townsend / 6-Bruce Weber, England, 1984 / 7-Claus Wickrath, Glen Cove, NY, 2004 / 8-Bruce Weber, Hawaii, 1994 / 9-11: campaign and magazine shots, a retrospective from Polo’s early years (details not specified)