Paul Goldberger interviews Ralph Lauren in the ongoing celebration of Lauren’s 50th anniversary of his business. Events began on September 7 with a memorable fashion show and black tie dinner at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
On the day of his Goldberger interview, Lauren — a Bronx boy who made good — was practicing throwing out a ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium. Now 78, Ralph Lauren continues as a large presence in the fashion industry. His wife Ricky and three children Andrew, David and Dylan are all part of the big show — one with major substance.
David, 48, is now chief innovation officer and vice chairman of the Ralph Lauren Corporation. At the 50th anniversary fashion show in Central Park, with luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton headlining the event, all the Laurens stood up when dad took his bows, as they do at every one of his shows.
Lauren explains: “I am very emotional about life and family—I’ve been married for 54 years. I’ve appreciated my life and my family, and I’ve been very lucky. So as far as philanthropy is concerned, I have never done anything for effect, only if I have been interested in it. I had a brain tumor 30 years ago, and after that I saw my friend Nina Hyde of the Washington Post, who had breast cancer. She wanted to start a center for women with cancer, and I said I would help her.
Then I thought we could do more, and I went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and a very dedicated doctor said they really needed help in Harlem, and we built a cancer center there. I’m not a doctor; I just wanted to do what I could to help. And I don’t think I’m finished. We have done other things, too. We supported the restoration of the American flag [the original Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812], because America has been very good to me. “
With a new CEO Patrice Louvet at the helm, Lauren remains chairman and chief creative officer. Read on in a very meaty interview: The Laurens: Three Generations of a Style Dynasty.