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RICKY AND RALPH

January 23, 2024

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When you purchase garments with his signature, you invest in more than just a piece of clothing you hang in your closet and occasionally wear; you are entering the American dream. Ralph Lauren probably created the most prominent fashion empire, but the irony is that he dislikes the fashion business and won’t even consider himself a designer. He likes blue jeans, a white T-shirt, cowboy boots, summers in the Hamptons, and old things in general. Everything around him serves as inspiration, all of which somehow ends up in his signature pieces. How even to begin telling Ralph Lauren's story? It is impossible that any of his biographers could cover every significant detail about him in a book of a hundred pages. Therefore, this story is not about a man who founded a fashion empire. This is the story of the love that was the driving force behind it all–about the spouses, Ricky and Ralph Lauren.

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Living in New York, young Ralph worked as a seller for Brooks Brothers, one of the most well-known men's clothing companies. Young Ralph dressed differently than the others, to the point that he had difficulty finding clothes to wear, which ultimately led to his entire wardrobe being made by a local tailor. He didn't have the skills to make cuts and garments, but he had a clear vision of who he wanted to become and what he wanted to achieve. It took a little while for him to start designing the garments for his brand, which he launched in 1967.  But this was a challenging task in the beginning.

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He got tired of the popular narrow ties then and decided to start producing his version. He invented wide ties. At first, he was turned down or offered a place on store shelves only if he agreed to adapt his design elements and if the pieces were not sold under the Ralph Lauren name. He confidently refused all that, and the one who was by his side all that time and believed in all that he was not yet sure of–was Ricky Ann Loew-Beer. In the end, Ralph's dedication and Ricky's constant support paid off, and he soon opened a small tie shop where he sold his unique designs.

 

Ralph Lauren didn't stop at ties. He started making clothes right away, and in 1970, he debuted a line of women's garments that were tailored to look like men's clothing. But that probably wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been inspired by his muse, Ricky. Without her, today's fashion empire would not exist, not because she insisted on it, but because she quietly and unobtrusively believed in everything he wanted–until today, when it comes to the most influential designer of all time.

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The couple has been married for almost 60 years. Their first meeting occurred in an ophthalmology office in New York in 1964, where Ricky worked as a receptionist, and Ralph came for an appointment. He asked her out on the spot, and they were married six months later. "I didn't like the girl with all the makeup and high heels," Lauren wrote in his memoir in 2007. "I liked the girl in jeans and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up in her boyfriend's jacket. That's the girl I'm attracted to. That's the girl I married—Ricky."

 

Despite their great success, the couple has kept a low profile and decided to raise their three kids—David, Andrew, and daughter Dylan—as simply as possible. The couple rarely gave interviews or invited the media or photographers into their homes. Although their children could have whatever possessions they wished for, they tried to teach them the value of life and the hard work that was inevitable if they wanted to be successful. Ralph and Ricky come from humble backgrounds—from families who immigrated to the United States from Europe and were not raised in the luxury they live in today. Everything they created was purely their own vision and hard work.

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However, Ralph is always in the spotlight because of his work and the new houses they have built over the years have provided his wife with many interests. Ricky's passion for cooking, decorating, photography, and watercolour painting eventually led to the publication of four volumes that give the readers a heartfelt glimpse into the everyday lives of the admired family. These are books filled to the brim with old family pictures, favourite recipes, and advice gained from years of marriage to a man whose style influenced many.

 

The motivation for this article is undoubtedly numerous photos of the two. They appeared in nearly identical looks and walked side by side at many events, always looking well-coordinated. If Ralph appeared in Levi’s 501, Ricky would choose the same. Ralph would wear the same if Ricky chose a velvet tuxedo for the gala dinner. Ralph is in a motorcycle jacket, with Ricky following him. Naturally, we are unsure who chose the look first, but their combined outfits perfectly reflect what a man’s and a woman's equal dedication to style looks like. These are unquestionably two individuals with similar tastes and a love for style. Their natural, delicate, and discreet approach is outstanding. In short, they serve as evidence that style transcends all trends and ideas of fashion.

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Ralph was right when he said as a young man that he believed he had "that something". And Ricky was right to believe in “something” that young Ralph couldn't quite put his finger on yet. While they rose to prominence in the fashion industry, they distanced themselves from teamwork and professional collaborations.  Ricky isn't working for the most incredible fashion empire, estimated at several billion dollars annually, which has restaurants, a jewellery brand, clothing lines for all ages, and home décor items. Thanks to her, one of the largest clothing brands in history was created. With Ralph always side by side in the same clothing choicesstories like the one about the success known as Ralph Lauren are born out of such happiness. A gentle reminder that love is needed in every endeavour.

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