“I’m not a fashion person. I’m anti-fashion. I don’t like to be part of that world. It’s too transient. I have never been influenced by it. I’m interested in longevity, timelessness, style—not fashion.”
Ralph Lauren wins his first Coty Award for Menswear. (The Coty Awards became the Council of Fashion Designers of America/CFDA Awards.)
1971 -First Women’s Line, First Store
“My wife has great style—she would go into boy’s stores for shirts and hacking jackets, and people always wanted to know where we got those clothes. Her look reminded me of a young Katharine Hepburn, sporty and non-fashion—the kind of rebel girl on horseback with the wind blowing through her hair that people would look at. I designed the shirts for her.”
The 1970s open with the introduction of Ralph Lauren womenswear. Lauren creates a daring line of men’s tailored shirts for women—reinventing a classic men’s look for women’s style.
The women’s line also brings the birth of the polo player emblem. Originally on the cuff of women’s tailored shirts, the now ubiquitous logo begins the Polo signature status combined with designer appeal.
1972 -Polo Logo Originated
Polo’s original mesh shirt with the polo player logo is introduced in 24 colors. No other sport shirt offers the same combination of quality and variety. The shirt instantly becomes an American classic.
Polo Ralph Lauren romances the preppy heritage of American menswear, creating what will be a major touchstone for the company in the years to come. The Polo mesh shirts—along with the oxford button-down shirts, chinos, tweed jackets, denim and chambray shirts—develop iconic status as the embodiment of the Polo lifestyle.
“Gatsby was this self-made man, and he was all about looking glamorous and wealthy and mysterious.”
When Paramount Studios asks Ralph Lauren to design the men’s costumes for Jack Clayton’s movie The Great Gatsby, starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, Lauren clothes the entire male cast in his current line, a 1920s-inflected series of men’s suits and sweaters deeply influenced by the American icons Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The legendary pink suit that Lauren designs for Gatsby epitomizes 1920s style—and its popularity led to a major revival of Ralph Lauren’s designs inspired by that time period.
“My clothes are always visions of what I believe in. Someone once told me I was a writer, and it’s true—I write through my clothes. They’re whole stories, not just clothes.”
Ralph Lauren wins the American Fashion Award.
Ralph Lauren enters the Coty Hall of Fame for Menswear, and also wins his second Coty Award for Womenswear, the first time a designer has won awards for both menswear and womenswear in the same year.
Ralph Lauren enters the Coty Hall of Fame for Womenswear.
Ralph Lauren makes fashion headlines and captures the country’s imagination with the launch of his Westernwear collections for men and women. Drawing on our American heritage and his own personal style, Lauren’s Western looks are authentic and highly spirited—including rugged shearling vests, rancher’s jackets, prairie skirts and fringed buckskin.
Inspired by the spontaneous wit, solid design and romance of original Western clothes, Lauren creates authentic, impeccably made Western fashions. He is heralded as “the maverick who recaptured America for America” and starts a Western style stampede throughout the world.
Ralph Lauren, who has always been attracted to and fascinated by the cowboy mystique, chooses to promote the Westernwear collection by appearing in the original Westernwear ad campaign, since it is so clearly related to his personal style.
“The multipage ads are like movies, broad strokes of excitement, multidimensional; if I could have made the models speak, I would have.”
Polo begins advertising and catapults the brand into the American consciousness. Continuing in the spirit of the Polo philosophy that individual clothes are not as important as the lifestyle and the world they reflect, Polo pioneers advertising with little or no text, and, more importantly, a sweeping, cinematic scope.
The original 20-page spreads, all in vivid color, revitalized and energized magazines with a pageant of seamless worlds and fascinating characters that consumers could relate to, follow and admire. Often using non-models in their ads (including Buzzy Kirbox, a surfer, and Tom Moore, an architect) in real settings, Polo establishes an advertising tradition that celebrates the entire spectrum of the American experience.