Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL) is an American corporation. They are known for the clothing, marketing and distribution of products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances. The Company's brands include Polo Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Collection, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Double RL, Ralph Lauren Childrenswear, Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren, Chaps, and Club Monaco. Ralph Lauren Corporation is an American, publicly traded holding company headquartered in New York City, and founded in 1967 by American fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
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.
1971 also marked the opening of Ralph Lauren's store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, his first freestanding store. 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.
In 1978, the first Ralph Lauren fragrances, produced by Warner-Lauren, Ltd were launched at Bloomingdale's. Lauren for women, and Polo the men's cologne. This was the first time that a designer introduced two fragrances – one for men and one for women – simultaneously.
The company entered the European market, and went international, in 1981 with the opening of the first freestanding store in New Bond Street in the West End of London, England. Lauren opened his first flagship in the Rhinelander mansion, on Madison Avenue and 72nd Street in New York City in 1986. On June 12, 1997, the company becomes a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
The 98-seat restaurant, RL, opened in March 1999 in a newly constructed building adjacent to the largest Ralph Lauren store at the corner of Chicago and Michigan Avenues. It was followed by the opening of two additional restaurants – Ralph's at 173 Boulevard Saint Germain Paris store in 2010 and The Polo Bar at Polo's store in New York in 2015.
The company launched its website and online shop in 2000 as polo.com by RL Media (a cooperation between Ralph Lauren and NBC). In 2007, Ralph Lauren Corporation acquired the NBC share of RL Media and the website was relaunched as ralphlauren.com. In September 2015, it was announced that Stefan Larsson would replace the company's founder, Ralph Lauren, as CEO in November. Lauren will stay on as executive chairman and chief creative officer.
In February 2017 it was announced that Larsson had agreed to leave his position as CEO effective May 1, 2017 due to differences with Lauren. On May 17, 2017, Ralph Lauren named Patrice Louvet President and Chief Executive Officer. Louvet most recently served as Group President, Global Beauty at Procter & Gamble (P&G). He took over on July 17, 2017.
The Company ended Fiscal 2016 with 493 directly operated stores: 144 Ralph Lauren stores, 77 Club Monaco stores and 272 Polo factory stores. The Company also operated 583 concession shop locations worldwide at the end of the year.
In addition to Company-operated locations, international licensing partners operated 93 Ralph Lauren stores and 42 dedicated shops, as well as 133 Club Monaco stores and shops at the end of Fiscal 2016.
Ralph Lauren operates its representative flagship stores in New York City on Madison Avenue – for menswear in the former Rhinelander Mansion, and for womenswear and home in another structure, across the street, which opened in 2010. The company also manages flagships, for retailing Ralph Lauren collections, in Chicago, Manhasset, Greenwich (USA), London, Milan, Tokyo, Moscow, and Paris.
In 2005, The United States Tennis Association selects Ralph Lauren Corporation as the official apparel sponsor for the U.S. Open. As part of the partnership, all on-court ball persons and officials will be dressed in specially-designed Ralph Lauren apparel. This is Polo's first tennis sponsorship.
In 2006, Ralph Lauren Corporation became the official outfitter of Wimbledon. Lauren is the first designer in the tennis tournament’s history to be chosen to create uniforms for all on-court officials.
Ralph Lauren Corporation is the exclusive Official Parade Outfitter for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, with the right to manufacture, distribute, advertise, promote, and sell products in the U.S. which replicate the Parade Outfits and associated leisure wear. The Company has established a partnership with athletes serving as brand ambassadors and as the faces of the advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns.
Ralph Lauren Corporation partners with the United States Olympic Committee to become an Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Team, for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, 2012 Summer Olympics in London, 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Ralph Lauren designs the official Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony parade outfits for the U.S. teams in addition to an assortment of village-wear apparel and accessories.