Old News: Happy Birthday, Ralph Lauren!

In Old News, we highlight a piece from Interview‘s past that resonates with the present. 

Dear Mr. Lauren,

The last time we wished you a happy birthday, way back in October of 1991, we fantasized a great deal about your future career. We sort of wanted you to become a movie star; we guess things just didn’t pan out that way (though we’ll always treasure your guest spot on Friends). Regardless, you’ve come a long way since this last felicitation: your company, Polo Ralph Lauren, went public in 1997; you welcomed Lauren Bush-Lauren into the Lauren family; our favorite leader of somewhat lesser physical stature, Nicolas Sarkozy, named you a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur; and the kids at the CFDA voted you the most popular designer in school in 2010.  So, happy 72nd birthday, Ralph! We shall continue to cross our fingers for your Hollywood debut.

Yours very truly,

RALPH LAUREN, October 14

Best wishes to this month’s birthday subject, Ralph Lauren, who turns fifty-two on October 14. Lauren has shown that you don’t have to hail from Britain, or Montana, or the country to live the romance of those places. It’s no coincidence that his Horatio Alger tale turns up in so many magazines. Everybody loves to read the American dream.

It’s always difficult to think of birthday presents for such large-scale personalities. What can those closest to Lauren give the man who not only has the best of everything but also manufactures quite a bit of it himself? Lauren seems to love the movies. His stores are like movie sets built for shoppers, he’s been involved in a couple of films: Lauren designs were featured on Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and on Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby. Wouldn’t it be a great birthday present if a pal from Hollywood would call Lauren and offer him a chance to direct a big costume western? I think he could make a very popular full-length feature.

Imagine the lines in front of a theater showing a 70mm film featuring Ralph Lauren’s designs. Lauren could wow the audience with a saloon filled with furniture upholstered in red tartan patterns. He could even glitz up the obligatory scene at the rough-hewn chuck wagon with close-ups of his cobalt-blue hand-blown crystal. The corrals, the cookhouse, and stone fireplaces at Lauren’s Double RL Ranch in southwestern Colorado are a ready-made location: what with the ten to fifteen miles of stained four-wheel fencing, the Double RL makes the Ewings’ Southfork look like a time-share in the Poconos.

The film could have wit as well as style. Lauren’s jet could fly in kids from his New Bond Street shop in London as extras, adding a touch of Castle Howard to the set’s gambling casino. To throw a few exotic figures into the scene, Lauren could fly in employees from his stores in Uruguay, Switzerland, Hong Kong or Malaysia.

This October 14, his appreciative Hollywood friends should give him the whole enchilada: a starring role, too. With that billion-dollar smile, Lauren could play the ruddy sheriff-hero, able to save the town from European, Japanese and street-fashion influences, or a cowboy with thick eyebrows who woos the Anjelica Huston character, a garter-belted temptress promoting the dogma of underwear as outerwear.

A Lauren-filmed extravaganza would be sure to have good box office. In video form, with a handsome navy jacket and embossed-gold Polo logo, it would probably outplay Stagecoach. And next year? Why, the sequel, of course. Rio Polo II.