CNN Editorial Research
Here’s a look at the life of American fashion designer and philanthropist Ralph Lauren.
Birth date: October 14, 1939
Birth place: Bronx, New York
Birth name: Ralph Rueben Lifshitz
Father: Frank Lifshitz, housepainter and artist
Mother: Frieda (Cutler) Lifshitz
Marriage: Ricky (Low-Beer) Lauren (December 1964-present)
Children: Dylan, 1974; David, 1971; Andrew, 1969
Education: Attended Baruch College in Manhattan
Military service: US Army Reserves
Changed his last name to Lauren at age 16.
Is the only designer to win the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s four top honors: the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, the Menswear Designer of the Year Award and the Retailer of the Year Award.
Ralph Lauren Corporation has over 450 global stores and includes brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Double RL, Polo Ralph Lauren Children’s, Lauren by Ralph Lauren, Lauren Home, Chaps and Club Monaco.
Under contract as the designer of uniforms for the US Olympic team from 2008 through 2020.
Lauren has four restaurants: RL Restaurant in Chicago, Ralph’s in Paris, Ralph’s Coffee & Bar in London and the Polo Bar in New York.
1967 – While working at Beau Brummel Ties, Inc., designs a collection of wide, handmade ties, which he calls “Polo.”
1968 – Launches a line of menswear.
1970 – Wins his first Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award, for menswear.
1971 – Introduces a line of womenswear.
September 1971 – Opens his first retail Polo Ralph Lauren store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
1974 – Credited with creating the clothes worn by Robert Redford and the other male leads in the film “The Great Gatsby.”
1981 – First international Polo store opens in London.
1986 – Inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame.
April 1987 – Undergoes surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.
1989 – Co-founds the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University, in honor of his friend former Washington Post fashion editor Nina Hyde.
1991 – Receives the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Lifetime Achievement Award.
1994 – Starts the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC) initiative.
1994 – Goldman Sachs purchases 28% of Polo Ralph Lauren for $135 million.
September 1996 – Lauren is presented the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research’s first Humanitarian Award by Princess Diana.
June 11, 1997 – The initial public offering of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. raises $767 million.
1998 – Donates $13 million to the Smithsonian to help preserve the flag that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner.
April 2001 – Establishes the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation, which supports causes including cancer care and prevention, educational and literacy programs, volunteerism and preservation and restoration efforts.
2003 – Partners with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to establish the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, in Harlem, New York.
June 2007 – Presented the first-ever CFDA American Fashion Legend Award.
June 2009 – Recipient of the inaugural CFDA Popular Vote Award, where the public votes for their favorite designer.
April 2010 – Receives the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur, France’s highest honor, from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
October 14, 2010 – Presented with a key to the City of New York.
July 2012 – In response to criticism from some lawmakers and human rights activists that the American athletes’ uniforms for the 2012 Summer Olympics were manufactured in China, Lauren releases a statement confirming that uniforms for the 2014 games will be manufactured domestically.
June 17, 2014 – Lauren is awarded the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for his contributions to preserve the American flag commemorated in the Star-Spangled Banner.
September 29, 2015 – Announces he is stepping down as CEO of Ralph Lauren Corp. Lauren will become executive chairman and chief creative officer.
September 7, 2018 – A runway show and black-tie gala in New York’s Central Park commemorate the 50th anniversary of Lauren’s brand.
June 19, 2019 – Knighted by Prince Charles. Lauren becomes the first American designer to receive British knighthood.
November 12, 2019 – The HBO documentary, “Very Ralph,” is released.
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