NEW YORK — Dolores J. Barrett, former senior vice president for Worldwide Public Relations at Polo Ralph Lauren, died on Dec. 24 at her home in Manhattan.
This story first appeared in the December 30, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to her husband, Edward Klein, she had battled a series of long and debilitating illnesses.
Klein is the former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine and an author of best-selling nonfiction books. The couple traveled easily in fashion, media, design and medical circles.
Barrett, who kept her age private, according to Klein, was a graduate of Penn State University and received a masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. She pursued a career as a public relations executive with several companies, including the New York Hospital and CBS.
Barrett, who was described as popular and distinguished, had impeccable taste, according to friends. She parlayed her sense of style into a job at Polo Ralph Lauren, where she worked closely with the designer.
In 1994, Barrett was named vice president of public relations at Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. Her responsibilities included supervising all aspects of the company’s public relations worldwide, reporting to Ralph Lauren.
As the primary public relations counsel for Ralph Lauren, Barrett was responsible for creating the strategy and approving and implementing Lauren’s worldwide publicity, special events and philanthropic projects. She oversaw a staff of 12 public relations executives and coordinators.
As a confidant to Ralph Lauren, Barrett is widely credited with helping the designer bring his fashion brand to global recognition and making Ralph Lauren a household name around the world.
Barrett joined Polo Ralph Lauren in 1989.
She retired about seven years ago but remained active as a consultant for the fashion industry, according to Klein. Barrett worked with several designers in her consulting business, among them, Elie Tahari.
In addition to her husband, also surviving her is her son, Robertson; daughter, Melissa Barrett Rhodes; stepdaughter, Karen Hirsch; brother, John Jones; sister, Natalie Kearnes, and five grandchildren.