Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Love Affair with Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren embodies everything exceptional about American fashion. The classic well-tailored styling of items bearing his name symbolize quality and value. Even in the secondary market, his items sell remarkably well. Some items may sell for more than their original retail price as there are also many collectors of RL items. If you purchase a vintage item with the Ralph Lauren name you can be assured it will stand the test of time and will be in your collection for years.

Born Ralph Reuben Lifshitz on October 14, 1939 in The Bronx, New York. He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957. Lauren went to Baruch College at the City University of New York (CUNY) where he studied business.

Ralph grew up playing basketball and baseball. He wanted to be Joe DiMaggio or perhaps a movie star. Lauren often draws inspiration from his heroes including the likes of Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, and John F. Kennedy.

From 1962 to 1964 he served in the United States Army, afterwards, he worked briefly for Brooks Brothers as a sales assistant before becoming a salesman for a tie company. At 28 years-old, Lauren worked for the tie manufacturer Beau Brummell, where he convinced the company's president to let him start his own line which in 1967 became The Ralph Lauren Corporation. Today the Ralph Lauren Corporation is a global multi billion-dollar enterprise.

10 Facts:

  • ·         First lady Melania Trump wore a pale blue dress designed by Lauren for her husband’s Inauguration.
  • ·         Ralph Lauren designs have been sported by the USA Olympic team (from 2008 through 2020) and the cast of the TV show Downton Abbey.
  • ·         Ralph’s first woman’s collection for Ralph Lauren Polo was launched in 1971 in Beverly Hills, California.
  • ·         Working at Ralph Lauren is a rite of passage for many designers who go on to become successes themselves. Former employees include Vera Wang, Tory Burch, and Michael Bastian.
  • ·         In April of 2001, he establishes the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation, which supports causes including cancer care and prevention, educational and literacy programs, volunteerism and preservation and restoration efforts.
  • Today, his collection of more than 70 cars is perhaps the highest-valued in the world, estimated by Forbes to be worth at least $300 million.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Love Affair with Mrs Peel...

Mrs. Peel (aka Diana Rigg)

Growing up in Detroit in the 1960s was an exciting time. We did, after all, have more than 3 channel on TV. We had the mighty CKLW from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. This meant there were lots of programs that originated in Great Brittan. At that time, in the mid 1960s, that meant London, Carnaby Street and Mod clothing.

The most important of these shows to me at that time, was The Avengers. We actually got the programs first run from England. Not only did it expand my culture (that’s what I told my mom), it also shaped the
blossoming fashion sense of a 13 year old girl. 

Growing up I had developed a “unique” fashion sense. Since I attended a catholic school, which was darn near impossible. We wore uniforms and were assigned a “color” of knee sox (NO HOSE) to wear, based on grade. I was once sent to the mother superiors lair for wearing the wrong color knee sox and another time for wearing a button that read “What Me Worry?” with a photo of Alfred E Neuman.

Somewhere in 1966, I was in the 6th grade, I became obsessed with Mrs. Peel and the incredible designs she wore each week. Her style and grace was unmatched and typically British Mod. The timeless designs of John Varon (see earlier post) were perfect for Diana Riggs 5’ 9” frame. There were brightly colored dresses, suits and pants. Not to mention those leather togs.

I would grab a drawing pad and attempt to copy the designs.
I was blissfully unaware that the looks were not quite right for my 5’2” chubby frame. Since my mother (who was an excellent seamstress) made a lot of my clothes, we would modify patterns so that they had a designer quality. I remember particularly an Easter outfit of bright yellow and orange. I even purchase a pair of yellow patent leather shoes and a “Chanel” style quilted bag to match! Mod was my favorite style and still remains dear.

The school at last, relented and allowed us to wear go-go boots and “real” hose. Few of the nuns were happy about this change. Shortly after, in 1967 as the 7th grade started, we began to conduct “guitar” masses. The times they were a-changin’.