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    Ralph Lauren Fashion Week

    NY Fashion Week: Ralph Lauren Marks 50 Years in the Biz, Kate Spade Honored

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    On Friday, legacy fashion designer Ralph Lauren celebrated his company’s 50th anniversary with a runway show on the steps of Central Park Bethesda Terrace during the gala New York Fashion week.

    The show featured over 150 models, including Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber. The event, which was thought to have cost more than $3 million to stage, was billed as a celebration of the 78-year-old designer's talents, the New York Post reported Saturday. 

    "You've defined American fashion and style, and you've made a lot of us dream really big," said actress Anne Hathaway, who sat next to American actress and film producer Jessica Chastain. The new Lauren collection featured Navajo-inspired prints, brocades and velvet accessories.

    The designer was congratulated by several big names, including Oprah Winfrey, Pierce Brosnan and Robert De Niro. Luminaries including Kanye West, Blake Lively and Steven Spielberg were on hand to laud Lauren, who moved through an adoring crowd like a ship of state in a parade of flashbulbs. Following the show, guests enjoyed a private dinner around the Bethesda Fountain in New York City's Central Park under heavy security.

    "What is real is what lasts and we are here because you have lasted," Winfrey said in a toast, the New York Post reported.

    Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz, to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Belarus. The famed designer grew up with three siblings in the Mosholu Parkway area of New York City's Bronx borough. The teenage Lifshitz became interested in clothes, collecting army pants, bomber jackets and military coats from various secondhand shops around the city. At 16, he changed his last name to Lauren, alongside his brother.

    "My given name has the word s — - t in it. When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That's why I decided to change it," Lauren told Winfrey in a 2002 interview, cited by the New York Post.

    "People said: ‘Did you change your name because you don't want to be Jewish?' I said, ‘Absolutely not. That's not what it's about.'"

    "There were also people who thought that because I was Jewish, I had no right to create these preppy clothes," he added.

    Lauren created his own line in 1967, which he named Polo, after working as a salesman for tie manufacturer Beau Brummell.

    His design aesthetic saw influences pulled from West and East coast culture in the US. "I loved East Coast preppiness, the utility of the cowboy's worn jeans, American folk art, the glamour of Hollywood, and the rich heritage of Native American craftsmanship," Lauren told Elle magazine. "It's always been there, right in front of us — on the streets, in the small towns, in the big cities — in the way people live."

    His brand took off with the 1972 introduction of Polo collared shirts. 

    As one of the world's most important fashion events winds its way through the Big Apple, other fashion notaries, including the recently-deceased Kate Spade, have been honored during the 2018 New York Fashion Week.

    A blush-colored note card with the quote, "She left a little sparkle everywhere she went," was placed on every each seat during the Kate Spade New York spring 2019 fashion show on Friday evening. The back of the card read, "In loving memory 1962-2018."

    A celebrated and distinctly American fashion designer, Kate Spade was found dead in her apartment in June, in an apparent suicide.

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