Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Behind the Label - Ralph Lauren

Since its inception in 1968, Ralph Lauren has become a powerful brand that put its stamp on everything from tuxedos to tennis uniforms. It all started with the famous Polo shirt, which Lauren created to embody the spirit of American aristocracy (something the middle-class boy from the Bronx only imagined while growing up). After launching his collection with a wide tie that became a must-have among New York's young and stylish, the designer expanded his repertoire to include the famous polos, then women's wear, formal wear and a bigger selection of sports clothes. After a brief setback in the late-1980s, when casual preppy attire was replaced by slick business suits by Armani and Dolce & Gabbana, Lauren struck back with licensing deals for fragrances and home lines, plus the Ralph Lauren blue label, which quickly became an empire on its own for classic, elegant evening wear. Purple and Black Labels followed, and Ralph Lauren's sporty Polo brand was soon balanced by fancier, more expensive lines offering silk ball gowns and six-ply cashmere cardigans. Today, Lauren's formula for creating effortlessly chic style is a hot commodity—and often imitated.


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