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2011 October 25

Ralph Gets The Oprah Treatment (Part Deux)

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Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey
NICK HUNT / PatrickMcMullan.com
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(NEW YORK) The stars aligned—or gathered, anyway—for a powerhouse pairing of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Ralph Lauren again, at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall last night. The conversation, which benefitted Lincoln Center and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, was prefaced by a lengthy video chronicling Lauren’s life and legacy beforehand, brimming with personal photos of the siblings Lauren (alongside dogs, horses, and other oh-so-Ralph accouterments) and ample shots of Lauren's designs over the years.

A bit of Hollywood turned out, thanks to a beautiful flock including Jessica Alba, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, and Kerry Washington, as well as Steve Buscemi, Jerry Seinfeld, Alba’s husband Cash Warren as did all the requisite fashion editorial ilk—Anna Wintour, Glenda Bailey, Stefano Tonchi, Robbie Myers, Joanna Coles, et al. Adding to the black tie-clad beauty quotient of the evening were the leggy likes of Lily Aldridge, Chanel Iman, and Veronica Webb. And, of course, the sizeable, ethereal fleet of models featured in the redux of Lauren’s Spring ’12 show that occurred after Lauren and Winfrey finished chatting. Fellow designers in attendance for Ralph’s second, live moment under the Oprah microscope included Diane von Furstenberg avec Barry Diller, Dennis Basso, Tory Burch, and Lisa Perry.

“My dad is very private but very funny—about everything,” shared David Lauren, alongside wife Lauren Bush Lauren, during the cocktails that preceded the conversation. “I think his great sense of humor helps him with his work and his life.” If the design icon’s son (and RL’s executive vice president) was to swap places with his feted father, the reveals would know no bounds: “Oprah could get anything out of me! She’s very talented,” Lauren said.

The elder Lauren opened up about moments of near-failure—“I almost lost my company twice because I moved too fast or had the wrong team, or didn’t have the right leadership”—and, at Winfrey’s gentle prodding, revealed himself as a sentimentalist. “Yes, I like keeping my things, because you never know when you’ll get them again!” chuckled Lauren. Other tales rustled up by the undeniably captivating Oprah: Lauren’s childhood lust for a particular, eventually acquired pair of blue suede shoes in a neighborhood Bronx shop window and his early tie-peddling days.  

As for the 4 p.m. void left in the wake of Oprah’s prime time show? Both Basso and Coles are typically locating the chocolate for mid-afternoon munching. “I’m usually looking for a snack—a pick-me-up, if you will,” said Basso. “I try to find snacks that aren’t fattening, but they always end up being a bit fattening, like a quarter of a quarter of a Kit Kat bar.” Meanwhile, Coles tends to be locating the best, far-flung cocoa rush around. Around four in the afternoon, I eat massive amounts of dark chocolate, either from South America or Belgium—or Switzerland, if I can’t find chocolate from Belgium,” Coles explained. “I don’t like American chocolate because they use powdered milk, so it tastes quite bad.”

Back to the man of the evening. “I think I still break the rules every day,” said Lauren. “Though the rest of my company probably doesn’t like that I break the rules…” Whether or not the rules are to be broken, here’s to another four decades of success, Ralph.
ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV

 




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