Essen­tials of style

OPRAH WIN­FREY (ME­DIA EX­EC­U­TIVE AND AC­TRESS):

Esquire (Singapore) - - Front Page -

“When I first moved to Chicago and was mak­ing enough money to pay my rent and still had some­thing left over, my idea of cel­e­brat­ing that suc­cess wasn’t to get a fancy car or jew­ellery. My idea of suc­cess was to get Ralph Lau­ren tow­els.” From her toast at Lau­ren’s an­niver­sary din­ner.

JOHN VARVATOS (DE SIGNER AND FOR­MER HEAD OF MENSWEAR D E S I GN, R A L P H L AUREN): “In the mid-to­late ’80s, peo­ple ba­si­cally wanted to sleep over at Ralph Lau­ren to make sure that they were able to get their or­ders in. It was a crazy thing. There were cus­tomers in the show­room at three o’clock in the morn­ing. There were peo­ple wait­ing to see if they could get an ap­point­ment to buy Ralph Lau­ren.”

S E L L E C K: “I used to fight with Michael Crich­ton when new stuff came in at the Polo store in Bev­erly Hills. We were the same size and we’re tall. And it was re­ally great for tall guys, the way Ralph cut his stuff.”

MAR­CUS WAIN­WRIGHT ( D E S I GNER, R AG & B ONE) : “My ini­tial read­ing of Ralph was that he was the pin­na­cle of fash­ion for a young 17-year-old in Eng­land. And hence the first thing that I ever bought that was even vaguely from a de­signer brand was some­thing from Ralph, which was a clas­sic red sweat­shirt. I bought it in a lit­tle shop in Méri­bel in France, and I still have it.”

TOM HI D D L E STON ( AC­TOR): “I think it was a blue jumper I bought, and it lasted me a long time. I tend to wear things un­til they fall apart. It was a beau­ti­ful colour, and it worked in win­ter and sum­mer. I re­mem­ber that.” Even­tu­ally a new gen­er­a­tion of mod­els and de­sign­ers started chang­ing the face of fash­ion. The com­mon thread? They had all worked at the same place, un­der the same guy. Peo­ple started call­ing it Ralph Lau­ren Univer­sity. T YS ON B EC K FORD ( MODEL A ND AC­TOR): “He was like this image I’d al­ready had in my head. But then when I met him, he was just this re­ally sweet, well-dressed gen­tle­man and you hung on ev­ery word he said. You have this whole staff of peo­ple stand­ing around him like he was the pres­i­dent of the United States. And there he is en­gag­ing with you, just talk­ing about reg­u­lar stuff.”

NAOMI CAMP­BELL ( MODEL A ND AC­TRESS): “Wow. They’re go­ing to use two black mod­els in one ad in Amer­ica. That’s what I re­mem­ber think­ing when I learned that I was do­ing the Polo ad cam­paign with Tyson Beck­ford in 1995. Peo­ple in fash­ion tell you things all the time, and when the time comes, things change. But I’d known Ralph since I was 17, and I knew he was a man of his word. To pair me with Tyson for that cam­paign—to have two black mod­els in a sin­gle ad—was as­tound­ing.” Esquire, 2007.

The 50th-an­niver­sary cof­feetable book cel­e­brat­ingthe brand.

Lau­ren on the cover of ourSeptem­ber 1987 is­sue.

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