Ralph Lauren, KBE (born October 14, 1939) is an American fashion designer, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, best known for the Ralph Lauren Corporation, a global multibillion-dollar enterprise. He has become well known for his collection of rare automobiles, some of which have been displayed in museum exhibits. Lauren stepped down as CEO of the company in September 2015 but remains executive chairman and chief creative officer. As of 2019, Forbes estimates his wealth at $6.3 billion, which makes Ralph Lauren the 102nd richest person in America.
Ralph Lauren was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, Frieda (Cutler) and Frank Lifshitz, an artist and house painter, from Pinsk, Belarus. He is the youngest of four siblings —two brothers and one sister.
Lauren attended day school followed by the Manhattan Talmudical Academy, before eventually graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1957. He went to Baruch College, at the City University of New York (CUNY) where he studied business, although he dropped out after two years.
On December 20, 1964, he married Ricky Ann Low-Beer in New York City. She is the daughter of Margaret Vytouch, and Rudolph Low-Beer. The two had met six months earlier, in a doctor’s office where she was working as a receptionist and on alternate days teaching dance. She is the author of The Hamptons: Food, Family and History.
They have three children. Andrew Lauren (b. 1969) is a film producer and actor. David Lauren (b. 1971) is Executive Vice President of Global Advertising, Marketing, and Communications at Ralph Lauren Corporation. In September 2011, David married Lauren Bush, the granddaughter of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush. Lauren and David have two children and live in Manhattan. Dylan Lauren (b. 1974), owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York City, was married in June 2011 to hedge fund manager Paul Arrouet. Dylan and Paul welcomed twins on April 13, 2015 via surrogate in New York City.
In April 1987, Lauren underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor and made a full recovery.
Lauren owns a 17,000-acre cattle ranch in Ridgway, Colorado and a 17,000 sq foot manor built in 1919 in Bedford, New York.
- Automobile collection
Ralph Lauren is well known as a collector of automobiles, with about 100 automobiles, some being extremely rare. He owns a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, two Ferrari TRs, three 1996 McLaren F1’s (one of them an ultra-rare McLaren F1 LM), a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a 1929 Bentley 4½ Litre (“Blower Bentley”), one Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a Bugatti Veyron, a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” (aka “The Black Prince”), a 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Mille Miglia. and a rare Lamborghini Reventón Roadster.
His cars have won “Best in Show” at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance twice, his 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic won in 1990 and his 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” roadster won in 1993. In 2005 his collection was displayed at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Seventeen cars from his collection were exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris in 2011. In 2017, Lauren’s now $350 million car collection took center stage during New York Fashion Week.
Lauren stated in May 2014, “I hate when people call me philanthropic because I see it as more coming from the heart”.
In 1989 Lauren co-founded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C. in memory of the late Post fashion correspondent. He served as chairman and created the name and symbol for Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a charitable initiative of the CFDA that founded in 1994 that marshals the goodwill and services of the fashion industry to raise public awareness and funds for breast cancer internationally.
In 2000 the Ralph Lauren Corporation launched its Volunteer Program, which energizes employees and creates meaningful connections with the communities in which they work. On Friday, September 15, Ralph Lauren Corporation launched the Pink Pony Campaign, a national initiative to reduce disparities in cancer care by raising awareness as well as enhancing prevention, screening, and treatment in poor and underserved communities.
The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation established the American Heroes Fund following the September 11th attacks to allow Polo’s 10,000 employees worldwide, as well as their customers, the opportunity to participate in the relief effort.
In 2003, Ralph Lauren supported the establishment the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem. The Center is a collaboration between Ralph Lauren, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and North General Hospital in Harlem, New York City.
The Polo Fashion School was established in 2004, in which Company executives work with inner-city youth to offer insights into the fashion business. Established in 2006, the Polo Jeans G.I.V.E. (Get Involved, Volunteer, Exceed) campaign was created to inspire and encourage community service through volunteerism by supporting the efforts of dedicated volunteers and their causes.
The Star-Spangled Banner, the original 1813 flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the United States National Anthem, was preserved by a $10 million contribution to Save America’s Treasures from Polo Ralph Lauren in 1998. The flag was then unveiled on Wednesday, November 19, 2008, in a new gallery at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.
Ralph Lauren Corporation announced in July 2013 its commitment to restore the elite École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, one of the most influential art schools in France.
In 2014, the Ralph Lauren Corporation partnered with the Royal Marsden, the largest and most comprehensive cancer center in Europe, to develop a world-class breast cancer research facility. They opened the Royal Marsden Ralph Lauren Center for Breast Cancer Research in 2016.
Lauren is a regular donor to the Democratic Party.