This eponymous 40th anniversary book sits as the crown jewel in my makeshift coffee table. At an impressive 11 1/2” x 15”, this profound volume shares intimate reflections of Ralph Lauren’s life and work, featuring more than 700 hand picked photographs. The man is a dreamer—a storyteller. When he began designing menswear his inspiration came from old yearbooks and images of students from Princeton, Harvard and Yale. What he designed in 1967 isn’t old, and yet what he’s creating in 2010 isn’t new. And therein lies the beauty of the prep aesthetic. The clothes are as timeless as the vision behind them.
“When I was a young man going to college I always loved the Ivy League look, its ease and tradition. It was the age of the gentleman athlete—the tennis player, the polo player, the rowers and scullers. I started with the origins of tradition, but I was not bound by it.”
Images via Bruce Weber, Perry Ogden, Martyn Thompson, Mary Randolph Carter and Francois Halard