The Ralph Lauren Corporation started in 1967 with men’s ties. At 28 years-old, Lauren worked for the tie manufacturer, Beau Brummell. He persuaded the company’s president to let him start his own line. Drawing on his interests in sports, Lauren named his first full line of menswear ‘Polo’ in 1968. He worked out of a single “drawer” from a showroom in the Empire State Building and made deliveries to stores himself.
By 1969, the Manhattan department store Bloomingdale’s sold Lauren’s men line exclusively. It was the first time that Bloomingdale’s had given a designer his own in-store shop. In 1971, Ralph Lauren Corporation launched a line of tailored shirts for women, which introduced the Polo player emblem, appearing on the shirt cuff. The first full women’s collection was launched the following year.
1972 marked the opening of Ralph Lauren’s store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, his first freestanding store. In 1972, Lauren released a short-sleeve cotton shirt in 24 colors. This design, emblazoned with the company’s famed logo—that of a polo player, created by tennis pro René Lacoste—became the brand’s signature look.” In 1977 Ralph Lauren Corporation introduced a signature cotton mesh Polo shirt in various colours. Featuring the polo player logo on the chest, the shirt became emblematic of the preppy look—one of Lauren’s signature style.
In 1974, Ralph Lauren outfitted the male cast of The Great Gatsby in costumes chosen from his Polo line – a 1920s-style series of men’s suits and sweaters, except for the pink suit which Lauren designed especially for Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby. In 1977, Diane Keaton and Woody Allen wore Lauren’s clothes in the Oscar-winning film, Annie Hall.