Forty-three years — that’s how long Ralph Lauren has been in business, and there seems to be no slowing down for America’s most successful designer. Chalk it up to talent and a hefty dose of experience. Throughout his company’s history, Lauren has weathered quite a few boom times, and probably more busts, than he cares to remember. Lauren, however, keeps his cool — which perhaps explains how the firm has been able to survive.
In November, he opened a grand store with an imposing Beaux-Arts limestone facade in Greenwich, Conn. That was followed by a chalet-style boutique in Gstaad, Switzerland, in December. A store in Saint Germain in Paris is due in the spring, and, finally, the Beaux-Arts structure that is being erected across from the Rhinelander mansion on Madison Avenue is slated for the fall. And through the last few seasons, he has become a pioneer when it comes to embracing technological innovations, from iPhone apps to m-commerce and the virtual runway show he recently introduced for his Rugby Ralph Lauren label. It’s clear that Lauren views the financial crisis as a message to get to work. He underscored that point with his denim-heavy spring collection, which celebrated the American worker and this country’s resilient spirit.