Yesterday Hamptons magazine sent the Examiner an exclusive preview of the cover of their Fourth of July edition featuring renowned designer Ralph Lauren. We also received quotes from the designer’s interview with Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the CFDA. Ralph Lauren dished with Hamptons magazine about what it means to be an American designer and more.
Lauren discussed what it means to him to be an American designer. He has seen many things he loved in America including the Adirondacks, Colorado and the West. He states there is a lot of history here in America but when he started in the industry, everyone was looking to Europe for inspiration. Lauren started with men’s designs and his first collection had a glen-plaid suite. People thought it was nice and some loved it while others walked right by. Saint Laurent did a similar suite and people came back to Lauren stated they now liked the suite. Lauren said, “They didn’t know.”
Mallis asked Lauren if he feels a sense of responsibility in representing America in the fashion industry. He laughed, said no and indicated, “I just do what I love doing.” When they opened two stores in Russia, he thought of his parents who came from Russia. He looked at European stores and there was Ralph Lauren. He saw designed brands in Russia and felt he carried the flag at that moment. Lauren added, “I realized that this is how they look at America. At that point, actually, I did feel responsibility. I felt really proud. I felt that I did represent America.”
With the Fourth of July in mind, Lauren was asked about his definition of the American dream. He stated, “I don’t know if it’s an American dream; I think it’s everybody’s dream to have a good life, to have a healthy life, to have a family, and to live a life where you know you are moving forward, and you are adding something to your culture. I still think it’s the land of opportunity. If I were born in Europe, I probably would not have been able to do all that I did.”
The distinctive designer also talked to Hamptons magazine about his childhood. He had three brothers and a sister and he looked up to them. Lauren did not have a bike or baseball glove as a kid but never felt that he didn’t have anything. He was happy and loved where he grew up in the Bronx. He used to play stick-ball and basketball in the schoolyards. He also did neighborhood things such as roller skating and ice skating. Lauren stated he was a good athlete as a kid and had a good time.
Lauren discussed the movies with Hamptons magazine and said millions of kids like him loved them because movies were an escape. He felt movies opened your eyes to a world you would not otherwise know. It was a way to see people and another life as well as get exposed to places you weren’t able to travel to. When he came out of the movies, he was Tarzan or Robin Hood or one of the characters. He added with a laugh, “And I still do; I think I’m Batman now.”
Ralph Lauren graces the cover of Hamptons magazine for the Fourth of July. Find out more about the American fashion icon in the current edition of Hamptons magazine. Visit the Hamptons magazine website or pick up a copy available on newsstands starting today.