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For the company, see Polo Ralph Lauren.
Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren in his office 1979 by Edgar de Evia
Born October 14, 1939 (1939-10-14) (age 70)
The Bronx, New York, United States
Nationality American
Education Baruch College, City University of New York
Labels Ralph Lauren Polo Ralph Lauren
Religious beliefs Jewish[1]

Ralph Lauren (born October 14, 1939) is an American fashion designer and business executive; best-known for his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand.


Early life

Ralph Lauren was born as Ralph Rueben Lifshitz in The Bronx, New York to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Belarus[2]: Fraydl (Kotlar) and Frank Lifshitz, a house painter.[3] From a young age he started working after school to earn money to buy suits.

Ralph Lifshitz attended the Salanter Academy Jewish Day School followed by MTA (now known as the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy), before eventually graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957.[4][5] In MTA Lauren was known by his classmates for selling ties to his fellow students. In his Clinton yearbook he stated under his picture that he wanted to be a millionaire.[6] At the age of 16, Ralph's brother Jerry changed their last name from Lifshitz to Lauren (although Ralph's brother Lenny retained the name Lifshitz). In the summertime Ralph Lifshitz attended Camp Roosevelt (Monticello)[7]

He went to the Baruch School of Business and Civic Administration of the City College of New York (now known as Baruch College) where he studied business, although he 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. In 1967, with the financial backing of Norman Hilton, Lauren opened a necktie store where he also sold ties of his own design, under the label "Polo".[8] He later purchased the name from Hilton.

Polo Ralph Lauren

In 1970, Ralph Lauren won the COTY Award for his menswear line. Around that same time he released a line of women's suit that were tailored in a classic men's style, which was when the first Polo emblem was seen. It was on the cuff of the women's suit. Ralph Lauren released Polo's famous short sleeve mesh shirt with the Polo logo in 1972. It came out in 24 colors and soon became a classic.[9] He also gained recognition for his design after he was contracted to provide clothing styles for the movie The Great Gatsby.

Polo Ralph Lauren store on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago

In 1984 he transformed the Rhinelander Mansion, 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[10], which had formerly been the home of Babe and Bill Paley.[11] On June 11, 1997, Polo Ralph Lauren became a public company, traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RL.

By 2007 Ralph Lauren had over 35 boutiques in United States. There were 23 locations that carried Ralph Lauren Purple Label, including Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Boston, Charlotte, Wisconsin Avenue, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Manhasset, New York, Palm Beach, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Short Hills, and Troy.[citation needed] The Financial Times reported in its edition of January 2–3, 2010 that the firm had revenues of 5 Bln for the fiscal year 2009 with liquidity of about 1Bln. The article addresses succession plans and the future of the overall business.


Sometime in early 1987, he was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. In April 1987 he underwent surgery to remove the tumor and made a full recovery.[12]


Ralph and his wife, Ricky, have two sons and a daughter: Andrew Lauren (b. 1969, New York City), David Lauren (b. 1971) and Dylan Lauren (b. 1974). David is an executive at Polo Ralph Lauren and Dylan owns and operates an upscale candy store, Dylan's Candy Bar, at 60th Street and Third Avenue in Manhattan.[citation needed]

Automobile collection

Ralph Lauren is also well known as a collector of classic automobiles. He owns a Ferrari 250 GTO, a McLaren F1 GTR LM, and, more recently, a Bugatti Veyron among others. His cars have won best in show at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance multiple times. His collection was recently displayed at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Net worth

As of 2009, Forbes estimates his wealth at $2.8 billion, which would make Ralph Lauren the 224th richest person in the world.[13]



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Ralph Lauren returns to his Russian roots
  3. ^ Gross (2004), p. 28
  4. ^ Staff. "Selling a Dream of Elegance and the Good Life", Time (magazine), September 1, 1986. Accessed September 15, 2009. "At DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Lauren attended business classes but paid little attention to studies. His adolescent idols were British and American style setters: the Duke of Windsor, for example, and Katharine Hepburn, who stole the show in The Philadelphia Story with her pants-and-pearls look."
  5. ^ "DeWitt Clinton High School, Bronx, New York". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  6. ^ Gross (2004), p. 38
  7. ^ Camp Roosevelt Discussion Forum
  8. ^ Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation - International Directory of Company Histories
  9. ^ Gross (2004), 186.
  10. ^ House & Garden, October, 1984
  11. ^ Domino magazine's "Editor's Pick — Babe Paley, featuring a photo of Paley at her Round Hill Villa in Jamaica online retrieved September 25, 2007
  12. ^ New York Times report on Ralph Lauren's brain tumor surgery
  13. ^ "#224 Ralph Lauren". Forbes Magazine. March 11, 2009. 


  • Gross, Michael. Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren.

External links

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