October 14th marks fashion icon Ralph Lauren’s 74th birthday, and this fall marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of his home line. Two very big milestones not just for Ralph Lauren himself, but for the fashion world as well. Perhaps it is polo shirts. Maybe it’s home decor or Olympic Uniforms. Maybe it is even this pop culture moment:

Ralph Lauren Elevator Friends Rachel Green

 

(photo via Friend Wiki

No matter what it may be though, something springs to mind when the name “Ralph Lauren” is mentioned. This is a testament to his classic look and the longevity of everything he creates. So, in honor of this iconic man, we decided to take a look back through his career and feature some of our favorite moments in Ralph Lauren history.

1) The Polo

Ralph Lauren Polo shirt

(photo via Vanity Fair

Ralph Lauren actually found his design start with neckties, but the turning point in his career was with his classic Polo. The classic buttoned-down collar shirt could already be found in Brooks Brothers, and Lauren’s take on it borrowed ideas from Tennis shirts. However, with the “Polo” label, twenty-four colors and a classic fit, Ralph Lauren was able to make this shirt his own in 1967.

2) The Original Gatsby

Robert Redford The Great Gatsby Ralph Lauren 1974

(photo via Verbatim Citation

Before there was Baz Luhrman and Leonardo DiCaprio, there was Jack Clayton and Robert Redford. For the 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby director Jack Clayton and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola approached Lauren about dressing the cast. The partnership was not only ideal for the budding designer, but ideal for the film as well. Ralph Lauren’s style was perfect for the upper-class glamour the film was going for.

3) Men’s-wear-as-women’s-wear

Annie Hall Woody Allen Diane Keaton Ralph Lauren

(photo via Wikipedia

Aside from the Polo, another style that Lauren is known for is his men’s-wear-as-women’s-wear style. He made a name for himself with his wildly popular women’s suit that were tailored more like a men’s suit. The look became iconic when Ralph Lauren was chosen to dress not just Woody Allen but also Diane Keaton in Allen’s 1977 film Annie Hall. Keaton’s look from that film is still revered today.

4) Home is Where Ralph Lauren is

Ralph Lauren Home Line celebrates 30 years

(photo via Wall Street Journal)

1983 was when Ralph Lauren first launched his home line. It was inspired by his own struggle to decorate his own home with his wife. Just like his clothes, his home line was classic looking and, most importantly, a one stop shop for anyone looking to decorate. No more needing to go to eighteen different stores to find the perfect bedding, curtains, and knick-knacks. Lauren had you covered, and 30 years later, he still does.

5) Bubblegum-pink Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow 1999 Academy Awards Ralph Lauren pink dress

(photo via Wikipedia)

Alright, so we know we jumped ahead a lot and that isn’t to say that there were not more iconic Ralph Lauren moments in the 80s (hello, the American flag sweater?) but we just couldn’t wait any longer to talk about this dress. In 1999, when she won the Academy Award for best-actress for Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow was wearing a bubblegum-pink dress designed by Ralph Lauren. We don’t think Paltrow has had a look as memorable since.

6) Ring in Beijing

Ralph Lauren 2008 Beijing Plympics US team uniforms

(photo via Washington Post)

After designing the uniforms for the 2005 US Open and Wimbledon 2006, it was just the natural next step for him to also design the US Olympic team’s uniforms for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Our team, of course, looked awesome that year. With clean, crisp, white shirts, navy accents, and the iconic Polo logo, the uniforms deserved a gold medal of their own.

7) Victorious in Vancouver

Ralph Lauren 2010 Vancouver Olympics US Team Uniforms

(photo via Vanity Fair

After such a success in Beijing, it was no surprise that the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics featured US team uniforms designed by Lauren. He made white pants after labor day acceptable for the Olympic games and he popularized big puffy coats again with the gorgeous navy and red coats the US team wore. We personally would love one of those beanies as well. It’s perfect for the ski lodge.

8) Luxe in London

Ralph Lauren London Olympics Uniforms 2012

(photo via E Online)

Yes, we are obsessing a little over Ralph Lauren’s Olympic looks, but they are just too iconic not to talk about. While we loved the looks for both Beijing and Vancouver, it is the London uniforms that really stole our hearts. The white dresses for the women. The navy blazers and berets for everyone. The neck scarves. Everything about it was on point. There was some controversy over the uniforms being crafted in China, but we still love them. If only we had been Olympians that year.

What is your favorite moment from Ralph Lauren’s iconic career?

AKA The Girl In The Red Sunglasses, Erin is a recent graduate from Colorado State University's journalism program. She is originally from Colorado and now lives in New York but desperately wants to live in London. She has a tendency to over caffeinate. She loves to travel, but prefers there to be concerts involved. She can also be wildly hilarious in 140 characters or less.

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