By  on September 4, 2007

How are you approaching the big anniversary? What are your emotions?

Ralph Lauren: What is my feeling? I'm happy about what I've done. I think if you look at 40 years of work, 40 years in this business of ins and outs, of trends, of changes, and to be stronger now than ever before is interesting to me, and that's what the celebration is.

Certainly reason for a party.
Look, I'm very real about life. I never loved parties; I'm a private person. But I think every once in a while....When I opened my store in New York, I didn't have a big gala; I just opened the doors. But knowing what I've lived through in this business, building something from nothing....Someone lent me $50,000 to start the business, and I worked out of a drawer at Beau Brummel. The salesmen all laughed at my ties. They laughed until I had a business. I built the company piece by piece — ties, shirts, suits, women's, children's, home. And then I did the secondary brands and opened up the stores and there was Lauren, Polo, Purple Label, Black Label, I built a conglomerate. There weren't many people before me who were doing that, [especially] opening stores. When I did my women's, I wasn't the sweetheart of the press.

As you know, the October issue of W features a major shoot of clothes from your archives. When it was all together in the closet, it was amazing how current everything looked.
One of the things that I have always said is that my clothes will look better next year than they do this year. That's always been one of my philosophies. In this book that I've got ["Ralph Lauren," published by Rizzoli, due out Oct. 16], I laid out the clothes, and doing the book, I didn't want to do any chronology. I don't want my clothes to look new now, and I don't want them to look old later.

Classicism trumps trendiness?
First of all, [it's not mere] classicism. What I do I think is exciting. I designed these chairs. [Ultramodern, chairs with leather seats set into angular carbon-fiber frames.] I love them, but I also like mahogany chairs. I have a race car, a McLaren, an amazingly modeled car. This [he taps the chair frame] is very sturdy, powerful and strong. It's light and durable.

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