While his clothes are synonymous with style, sophistication and success, Mr Ralph Lauren himself is perhaps the embodiment of the American Dream, having risen from his humble background in the Bronx, New York City, to create a multibillion-dollar style empire. Mr Lauren started by selling a small collection of ties in 1967, and the rest is history. Today Ralph Lauren is one of the world's best-known luxury brands, characterised by its unerringly consistent lifestyle vision, from the polo fields of Palm Beach to the slopes of Aspen and the boardrooms of Manhattan. Encompassing formal, casual and sporting clothes as well as homewares, watches and fragrances, the thread that connects the different Ralph Lauren lines is that of an accomplished, refined life. "I don't design clothes, I design dreams," Mr Lauren famously declared.
Launched in 1994 as the signature men's collection, Ralph Lauren Purple Label specialises in luxurious tailoring inspired by Savile Row, and is made in Italy. The styles are traditional and the cuts classic, with a strong emphasis on fine fabrics and meticulous craftsmanship, with much of the construction executed by hand. "Classic, to me, is something that is timeless, enduring. The things that never go out of style. The kinds of clothes I design are the kinds of things I believe in, the kinds of things that last forever. I love things that stay," Mr Lauren explains.
The Black Label provides a complete wardrobe of formal- and casualwear, from suits and jeans to weatherproof outerwear, with closer cuts and a more contemporary look than the Purple Label. The Black Label is inspired by clean lines and sleek Italian tailoring. The polo player Mr Nacho Figueras, who has been the face of Ralph Lauren Black Label since 2005, perfectly demonstrates its rakish style credentials.
Polo was launched in 1968 as Mr Lauren's first full line, with the name chosen because of the discreet elegance and classic style associated with the sport. In 1971 the now-iconic polo player motif was introduced; initially appearing on shirt cuffs, it was embroidered onto polo shirts a year later, and went on to become a design classic. Today, Polo provides a wardrobe of all-American casualwear with a preppy edge.