I have spent 35 years in this business. When I started I was 6 feet 3 inches, about the size of Roger Farah. Now I’m 5 feet 8 inches, OK, 5 feet 7 1/2 inches," quipped Ralph Lauren, the opening night keynote speaker at this year’s WWD/DNR CEO Summit.

On a bare stage, with only a microphone and a white backdrop, the designer spoke eloquently and intensely off the cuff for a good half-hour before answering questions for another 30 minutes. Wearing a black double-breasted suit, white shirt and black tie, Lauren proved once again how comfortable he is speaking in front of a live audience as he cracked jokes (even threatening to sing at one point) and roamed the stage like a seasoned performer. Acknowledging the summit’s theme, "Fashion’s New Rules," he said, "There are no rules. There were never rules. If there were rules, that’s a problem."

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