Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cool Guy, and Birthday Boy: Ralph



If Ralph did nothing other than give birth to Lauren cologne I would sing his praises forever. It is the only cologne I can identify, and only one I truly love.

I gave Mrs. T a bottle once. Unfortunately, somewhere between the factory and home it had turned vile. My unsuspecting bride, always questioning my taste, thought I delivered a skunk. No explanation that something was wrong, no offers to replace would ever do. Lauren was verbotten.

A girlfriend of hers, when moving gave her part of bottle of the good stuff, but still she would have none of it. Occasionally, I spray some on Charley.

It's easy to have sport at Ralph expense, but certainly not on his birthday. His ubiquitous, now cliché, over priced polos, the BIG BOOK, the car collection, the lifestyle are all fodder for amusement. Much of his design sensibility may be stuck in the 1930''s, but as a society we owe Ralph a great deal.

To my view of the world, without his impermature, a lot of clothes we take for granted would have died unmourned long ago. Who else kept tweed alive? The citizens of Lewis and Harris Island celebrate Ralph's life, and are eternally grateful for his annual fall looks. It keeps them alive. Fair Isle sweaters? Norfolk Jackets? No one else, but Ralph.

Imagine the magazine publishers in fashion or design that would commit ritual suicide before losing RL's advertising. Single handedly they must keep a lot of the publishing world employed in these troubled times.

Ralph married the love of his life, Ricki Ann-Low Beein 5 months after the movie release of A Hard Days Night (December 20, 1964). They have been going at it ever since.

I have 2 wishes for Ralph's birthday. First, I wish Mary Randolph Carter, his master of publications would publish a book of the early ads photographed by Bruce Weber. It would be a best seller. No, most aren't in the Big Book.

Second, I understand that fashion models are 6 foot tall 100 lb 14 year old Amazons, but would it hurt to use an adult woman periodically?
Happy Birthday Ralph. You have made our world brighter.

Toad

10 comments:

Suburban Princess said...

So true, one would not know a normal human could walk into a RL store and buy clothes right off the rack!

It's amazing how the scents of RL have lingered through our lives...one whiff of Safari and I am back in the passenger seat of a 350SL, scarf over my windblown hair, suit jacket over my shoulders, laughing that champagne fueled giddiness.....

Main Line Sportsman said...

It is nasty when cologne turns rancid....

Mrs. Blandings said...

Such reasonable requests - Hutton, perhaps?

Mom on the Run said...

That bottle brings back such good memories....whenever I catch a whiff it instantly takes me back to the Kappa house. That scent hung in the air at 616 N. 16th c.1983.

David said...

I think nearly every man has some Polo in his closet. What I really love is the RRL stuff, which nobody around here sells.

The furniture he used to do for Henredon was beautiful, there are a number of pieces of that collection on my eBay watch list.

David said...

I definitely have more than my fair share of Mr. Lauren's wares. While we jest about various aspects of his company, Toad is right that without him we would be a small enclave of early 20th century costumed individuals. I can't think of anyone else, besides him and the brethren who have largely kept traditional American style alive in the minds of the non-trad/ivy/prep public.

While I do think the large ponies are egregious, with them, he has captured the attention of a large group of people that would have normally spent their money elsewhere. I like to think of the big pony as a gateway to a better mode of dress.

Nick said...

I thought that big pony was a means for his clothing to be noticed during the American Open, or some other sporting event. My biggest problem is that he asks me to pay him to market his clothes for him. But I do admire his determination, vision, and reverence for what might have been a forgotten era of dress.

Genuine Lustre said...

I have his big book and all those shots of Ralph in a towel is a bit of a giggle, but a marriage like that is something to admire these days.
My husband wears Polo Double Black - i love it.

Tickled Pink And Green said...

When I was a lowly freshman in college, this studly junior asked me out 2 weeks before Christmas. We saw each other everyday and over the holidays when I went back home I'd stop at each dept store where we went christmas shopping to get a whiff of Polo since that is what he wore. I can remember sniffing it and feeling him with me. Oh I was soooo in love. It will forever remind me of him.

My hubby has same birthday as Ralph....every birthday we celebrate o I wonder...."wonder what Ralph's doing now ...having a party?"...

Suburban Princess said...

Tickled - read my comment at the top - yes, RL has done an awful lot for love!