It all started with a tie… Ralph launches a neckwear line under the name Polo
Working out of a drawer in the Empire State Building and drawing inspiration from the glamour of Old Hollywood, Ralph bucks the trends of the day with a collection of wide ties, each handmade from the highest quality fabrics.
Ralph debuts his first full men’s collection
Standout pieces include a white flannel suit and dress shirts in unexpected sport shirt fabrics. “I wanted more romance,” Ralph said, explaining his inspiration. “I wanted something that got me excited.”
The Polo by Ralph Lauren shop opens in Bloomingdale’s
It’s the legendary store’s first-ever boutique devoted to a single designer, and Ralph oversees every detail, down to the wood paneling.
Ralph opens his first standalone store
By the end of the decade, the Polo by Ralph Lauren store on Beverly Hills’ storied Rodeo Drive will be joined by Polo outposts in Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.
The iconic Polo Pony debuts on the cuff of a new line of women’s shirts
Ralph debuts his first women’s designs with a line of smartly tailored shirts, featuring details inspired by his men’s line—plus, for the first time ever, the now-iconic embroidered Pony.
Ralph introduces the Polo shirt
Crafted from the finest materials and available in a rainbow of vivid colours, the Polo shirt becomes an icon of American style. “On one level, there’s an aspirational quality to having a polo player on it,” Ralph once said. “On another level, it’s just a great shirt with lots of colours.”
Ralph debuts his first full women’s collection
The new line takes cues from menswear, to the delight of both critics and customers. “When I started to make menswear, women were always asking, ‘Can you make that for me?’” Ralph said. “I think I heard their voices.”
The Great Gatsby makes a statement
The film’s menswear comes from the latest Polo collection—with the exception of a pink suit Ralph designs specifically for Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby.
Ralph wins a Coty award for womenswear and the Coty Hall of Fame award for menswear
Less than a decade after starting Polo, Ralph becomes the first designer to win in the men’s and women’s categories in the same year. Saks Fifth Avenue takes out a celebratory ad in The New York Times, in which Ralph appears in black tie with blue jeans.
Annie Hall makes her mark
Diane Keaton’s trademark look, featuring several Ralph Lauren pieces, anchors the Oscar–winning film. “[The look] suggested a truly new and independent way of dressing,” Joan Juliet Buck later wrote for Vogue. “It was tender, personal, and original.”
Ralph introduces Polo for Men
The scent’s signature green bottle was inspired by a vintage flask, complementing masculine notes of pine, leather, and tobacco. A TV ad in support of the launch features polo players in action.
Ralph embraces the cowboy spirit
With Polo Western, his new line of denim, apparel, and accessories, Ralph draws inspiration from the purpose-built clothes of the American West. The tagline—“made to be worn”—says it all.
The Santa Fe Collection makes its debut
Inspired by the city’s artistry and free spirit, Ralph brought the craftsmanship and natural charm of the Southwest to the forefront of high fashion.
Ralph opens his first store outside the United States
The Polo shop at New Bond Street in London is the first freestanding shop in Europe for an American designer. Located in a former pharmacy, the space exemplifies the timeless gentleman’s club aesthetic that Ralph Lauren stores will become known for.
Ralph Lauren Home debuts
Frustrated by the lack of choices and quality on the market, Ralph launches his own home collection—a first for a clothing designer. It includes a wide array of offerings, from bedding to rugs and décor, designed around four signature RL motifs: Thoroughbred, New England, Jamaica, and Log Cabin.
Ralph presents his Safari Collection
Evoking Ralph’s vision of an African safari, the Spring 1984 Collection, and its subsequent ad campaign, anticipate the award-winning film Out of Africa, which comes out the following year.
Ralph redefines retail with his first flagship
Reimagining New York’s celebrated Rhinelander mansion on Madison Avenue, Ralph extends his vision for living across multiple floors adorned with hand-carved mahogany balustrades, oak floors, and marble fireplaces. As a store, the venue is an instant hit, sparking a revolution of story-driven retail experiences.
Ralph appears on the cover of Time magazine
Inside, the story documents how Ralph built a fashion empire less than 20 years after Polo debuted.
Ralph cofounds the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research
Along with legendary Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, Ralph honors the memory of late Post fashion correspondent Nina Hyde with a new facility at Georgetown University Hospital, embodying his longtime commitment to supporting the fight against cancer.
The Polo Bear arrives on the scene
The Polo style icon got his start as a limited-edition teddy bear inspired by a stuffed bear Ralph received as a gift from his staff (it was wearing clothes modeled on Mr. Lauren’s own). Soon, the bear was embroidered onto sweaters, formal slippers, and accessories, and is now a playful hallmark for Polo style.
Ralph receives the CFDA Lifetime Achievement award
Legendary actress Audrey Hepburn presents the award at the ceremony. “You have to do what you believe in and stay with it,” Ralph said at the time. “Never give it up.”
Polo Sport debuts with the Stadium collection
With its bold colors and eye-catching graphics, the line of performance-driven activewear would go on to become one of Polo’s most collected.
Double RL makes its debut
Taking its name from Ralph’s Colorado ranch, Double RL embodies the authenticity and purpose-built style of the West. “This is my closet,” Ralph succinctly put it. “It’s not fashion; it’s real stuff.”
Ralph introduces Purple Label
Inspired by the finest European tailoring, the new line embodies unprecedented levels of refinement and style. The launch campaign stars Ralph wearing a double-breasted chalk-stripe suit from the collection.
The launch of Ralph Lauren Paint
“A colour is capable of changing the way you feel and the way you act,” says Ralph Lauren, who offered more than 400 distinct hues, across five lifestyle collections (Safari, Country, Sport, Thoroughbred, and Santa Fe), with his first-ever paint collection.
Ralph takes his company public
After the company reaches $1 billion in sales, Polo Ralph Lauren becomes a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Ralph pledges $13 million to preserve the Star-Spangled Banner
With his donation to the Save America’s Treasures campaign, Ralph funds the preservation of the American flag that flew over the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write our national anthem.
Gwyneth Paltrow wears Ralph Lauren on her big night at the Oscars
Wearing a pink gown that Ralph designed for the occasion, Gwyneth earns an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in 1998’s Shakespeare in Love.
Ralph opens his first restaurant
Located adjacent to his Chicago store—the brand’s biggest in the world—RL Restaurant offers a perfected take on the classics, an approach which would become a culinary signature of later restaurants.
Ralph blazes a new trail with Polo.com
Representing a groundbreaking merger of content and commerce, the site featured the latest Ralph Lauren collections alongside immersive digital experiences, exclusive interviews and style advice, and live presentations of the brand’s runway shows.
Ralph launches Pink Pony
Ralph’s signature initiative in the global fight against cancer launches with his Spring Runway Show in New York City, with models debuting now-iconic Pink Pony T-shirts. Pink Pony has since evolved into a full collection, with 25 percent of the purchase price of each item donated to Ralph Lauren’s efforts in the global fight against cancer.
Ralph stages his first men’s Runway Shows in Milan
At the company’s palazzo inside the Italian fashion capital, Ralph hosts Runway Shows for the Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 collections of Purple Label.
The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care opens in New York
Ralph Lauren partners with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the nation’s leading cancer center, and North General Hospital to open the East Harlem–based center. The center’s mission is to provide the highest quality cancer screening and treatment services to Harlem and surrounding communities.
Polo Ralph Lauren becomes the official outfitter of Wimbledon
Ralph is the first designer in the tournament’s 120-year history to be chosen to create uniforms for all on-court officials.
Ralph wins his second CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award
Ralph’s second CFDA in 11 years coincides with him taking home the first-ever American Fashion Legend Award, presented by Oprah Winfrey. “Ralph is as much an ambassador for American values as anyone appointed by the White House,” Winfrey said. “He has become an icon, a true American success story.”
Polo Ralph Lauren becomes an official outfitter of Team USA
The brand designs looks for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams as they walk the opening and closing ceremonies, along with an assortment of villagewear, at the Olympic Summer Games Beijing 2008.
Ralph receives the key to the city
Mayor Michael Bloomberg presents Ralph with the key to New York City at the opening of his first women’s flagship, at 888 Madison Avenue. Mr. Lauren is the first fashion designer to receive this honor.
Ralph opens a flagship store and restaurant in Paris
Located on Boulevard Saint-Germain, the store is housed in a restored 17th-century hôtel particulier. The 13,000-square-foot townhouse includes crystal chandeliers, wrought-iron balconies, and Versailles-style parquet floors, as well as Ralph’s restaurant, which serves up an elegant mix of American cuisine and French ambiance.
L’Art de L’Automobile opens in Paris
The exhibition of 17 selections from Ralph’s renowned car collection pairs Mr. Lauren’s twin passions of speed and style in a landmark event in Paris. A 160-page book celebrating the history and beauty of these vehicles is published to coincide with the opening.
Polo for Women makes a splash in Central Park
Ralph debuts his new women’s Polo line with a groundbreaking 4D water projection fashion show, featuring models holographically projected onto a wall of water shooting nearly 60 feet into the air above The Lake in Central Park.
The Polo Bar creates a scene
With his first restaurant in his native New York City, Ralph conjures a warm, inviting world on East 55th Street, drawing inspiration from the city’s most classic dining establishments and Ralph’s longtime love of gathering around the table with family and friends.
The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research opens in London
Located at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, one of the world’s preeminent research institutions, this 2,000-square-foot space hosts world-class facilities that allow for more rapid and in-depth analysis of the disease.
Ralph welcomes the fashion world to his private garage for his Fall 2017 Runway Show
For the first time ever, Ralph invites guests to the immaculate, and private, garage that houses his world-class car collection for an unforgettable viewing of the Collection that was inspired by his cars’ dynamism and beauty.
The Polo shirt is featured in the landmark MoMA exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern?
Ralph Lauren’s iconic shirt is highlighted as one of the most important items of clothing released in the past several decades, and is added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
Ralph brings the heat at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018
Ralph writes a new chapter in wearable technology with a cutting-edge parka, designed exclusively for Team USA, that provides up to 11 hours of electronically controlled warmth via an exclusive on-board heating system.
Ralph celebrates 50 years with a star-studded celebration in Central Park
To mark a half-century of timeless American style, Ralph welcomes more than 600 celebrities and friends—including Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, and Hillary Clinton—for a landmark fashion show in the heart of New York, accompanied by an immersive digital installation showcasing 50 years of groundbreaking advertising and a seated dinner set against the backdrop of Central Park’s iconic Bethesda Terrace.