Ralph Lauren, the “man who dresses America,” just announced that he is stepping down as CEO and handing over the reigns to Stefan Larsson. Lauren’s designs are so ingrained in American culture and style that we hope the new vision for the fashion line will keep the charm and easy elegance of the old.
Having influenced his fellow designers and consumers alike, we compiled Lauren’s most iconic looks through his five decades in fashion.
1) It began with a tie
Lauren started POLO in 1967 and began hand making ties using colorful fabrics out of an Empire State building showroom. Lauren sold $500,000 worth in a year.
2) Polo Shirt
Introduced in 1972, the shirt with the iconic polo emblem was offered in 24 different shades.
3) Wide-brimmed women’s hat
7) Women’s suits
9) “Annie Hall”
Lauren’s sleek and buttoned-down designs were worn by both Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in the 1977 hit.
Lauren’s preppy style brought New England weekend wear into the mainstream. When asked why so many of his designs are inspired by the look, Lauren said: “People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams.”
14) Native American
15) Men’s Suits
16) “The Great Gatsby”
Lauren’s costumes for Robert Redford in 1974’s “The Great Gatsby” brought the roaring 20s style back in vogue.
17) Snow bunny wear
18) Luxury and evening wear
Lauren inspiration for collections, he said, comes “from a story or theme that gets to me… that says I know how to build this. I don’t build a collection from the sleeve or from a specific fabric. I build it out of a dream.”