By  on December 12, 2018

Fifty, fabulous and still going strong. That distinction is unique in fashion, applicable to exactly one designer-founder, not just now, but ever: Ralph Lauren.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of his company’s launch with a magical, memorable event at Bethesda Terrace in Manhattan’s Central Park was the pinnacle in a seminal year for Lauren that included numerous other points of distinction. Most, though not all, had some tangential connection to the anniversary; several spoke to the broad-based appeal of this icon of global fashion who has achieved a level of power and influence elusive to all but a handful of giants, his appeal transcending distinctions of geography, nationality and where the heck you came from. In September, this guy from the Bronx threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in a game against the Boston Red Sox (he reached the plate, albeit in the dirt); two months later, he received notice of knighthood. To be exact, he was named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and can add a nifty “KBE” after his name, if he wishes. The only American designer so honored, Lauren will receive the knighthood insignia at a ceremony next year. Said Antony Phillipson, British Consul General to New York and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, “In fashion, business and philanthropy, Mr. Lauren has played a key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections…Mr. Lauren has been a vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century. In addition, monumental philanthropic efforts, especially in the realm of public health, cancer research and treatment in both the U.S. and the U.K., have led to benefits felt by citizens around the world.”

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