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Perhaps Laurenís greatest contribution to fashion was Poloís short sleeve mesh shirt that sported the Polo logo. Although simple, this shirt, dubbed the ďpolo shirtĒ became an overnight classic and was offered in 24 different colors. Today, it still exudes the same simplicity and confidence, available in every color imaginable and suitable for the workplace or a day on the golf course. Other staples from his collection include cashmere cableknit sweaters, oxford button-down shirts and chinos.

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A man that represents preppy American fashion, Ralph Lauren is the genius behind the designer fashion labels of Polo/Ralph Lauren for Men, Ralph Lauren for Women and Double RL. The brand also markets home goods and paint, both of which keep consistent with his avant-garde approach to modern fashion. Today, the label is well-known for its formal and semi-formal clothing for men and women, high-end accessories, fragrances and housewares. Itís headquartered in Midtown Manhattan, New York.

Ralph Lauren - drawing inspiration

sense of style Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren was born on October 14, 1939 in the Bronx, New York. Born to a humble middle class Jewish family, Laurenís father painted houses while his mother raised him and his three older brothers. Lauren was young when he began showing interest in fashion, spending money on handsome suits that were purchased with his after-school job money. Even though Lauren knew it wasnít necessary to spend a lot of money on these suits, he wanted to stand apart from the crowd and exude a stylish presence.
Lauren went on to study business at City College in Manhattan, and soon before receiving his business degree, he dropped out of school. In the meantime, Lauren worked at two companies in Manhattan selling fashionable gloves. He then proceeded to work for a tie company, A. Rivetz & Co., which started him on the path to success. It wasnít long before Lauren was upgraded from a salesman to a designer, where he began designing wide ties. This was the start of his successful career that defines American fashion.
In 1968, after being given a loan of $50,000 and having a fine collection of ties, Lauren launched the Polo Fashions company. He chose the name Polo because he felt it signified power and fascination. The Polo label grew to be just that, as itís known today as a preppy clothing collection that prides itself on presentation and packaging. Lauren knew that fashion was the total package and he designed complete outfits that made the wearer look confident, cool and relaxed. With attention to the small details, the Polo line was one of the most meticulous collectionís offered to men.

Ralph Lauren - path to success

Ralph Lauren well-received image

Ralph Lauren - hunting-inspired textiles

Not only did Lauren have a creative mind, but he was also strong in the business department. In the late 60s when Lauren was designing his line of wide ties, he was approached by the upscale department store, Bloomingdales. Wanting to purchase his ties, the customer urged Lauren to make the ties thinner and drop his name from the design. Lauren refused and Bloomingdaleís came back after learning of Laurenís success with the Polo line. Lauren gained a new customer and kept his signature ties that have since been synonymous with the Ralph Lauren name.
The preppy look fared well during the 1960s and 70s, but Armani brought back the stylish business suit with an Italian influence in the 1980s. This power suit was well received by the fashion industry and replaced Laurenís preppy look. Indeed, Lauren rose to the challenge and offered his collection of businesslike menís shirts and suits, all made from luxe fabrics with impeccable details. Lauren also launched a womenís line, as well as a collection of home goods that included sheets, towels and furniture.
Today, Ralph Lauren has over 35 boutiques in the United States and also sells his merchandise at upscale department stores around the world. His timeless designs are seen in all his collections, which signify a lifestyle that one can achieve through clothing, housewares, accessories and fragrances. Lauren draws his inspiration from the influential cultures across the nation, whether itís the sea-bound New England coast or the Hollywood glam scene that never fails to impress with flashiness and star-struck qualities. With Laurenís countless labels and outside influences, the brand offers tasteful options for just about everyone.
Lauren was the first fashion designer to have his own store and he continues to sell more than just clothing, but a lifestyle image that has been well-received by affluent fashionables. Lauren is proud of his sense of style and offers his customers the opportunity to dress just as good as himself. The company remains one of the largest retailers in the US, with $4.2 billion in revenue.
Current fashion trends for the label include the same timeless appeal that wonít break the bank. The Spring 2011 collection features safari prints, khaki blazers, shirt dresses and striped cardigans. The formal wear is bouncy and fun, while the accessories are modest but influential. Wide braided belts, large gold earrings and wooden bangle bracelets are featured on the runway models. Classic totes and open-toe sandals complete the summery look.
For the fall, Ralph Lauren draws inspiration from the Asian culture and features brightly colored dragon embroideries, superb silks and satins, and slim silhouettes that are seductive without showing much skin. Chemise dresses are unique yet tasteful, while colorful jackets look stunning over any ordinary outfit. Fine fabrics encompass all of Laurenís collections, including warm, velvet dresses that make the wearer look impeccably dressed from head to toe. These velvet dresses are far from plain and feature beaded halter necks and long hemlines that sweep the floor. The highlight from recent fashion shows have been the beaded halter dresses that are worn with metallic hoods; a sincere look of beauty and elegance.
Taking a new spin off the labelís signature menís business suits, Ralph Lauren offers loose and skinny leg trousers, shawl-collared jackets and wool blazers. Leather motorcycle jackets are classic and edgy, using such details as exposed zippers and flawless stitched seams. Silky sweaters in bold colors look masculine against hunting-inspired textiles, while tuxedo suits, knit scarves and tailored overcoats round out the look.



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