Ralph Lauren: The Man Behind the Mystique

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Author Little Brown and Company $19.45 (302p) ISBN 978-0-316-85214-2
The ads in which Lauren appears promoting his corporate image are more personally revealing than this probe of the man behind the so-called mystique. Indeed, the designer, who built a $400 million clothing and home-furnishings empire on quality and class, might himself discount the piece goods offered here as not upscale enough for his logo and lacking identity as well. For although Forbes editor Trachtenberg rarely ventures beyond the Lauren workshop, he doesn't adequately cover the business side, as his journalistic speciality would suggest; yet the fashion world itself, with its frenzy and high risk, is apparently beyond his ken to convey. And the little we learn about Lauren? Ralph Lifshitz was born in the Bronx in 1939, youngest of four children of Jewish-Russian immigrants. With no formal design trainingthis internationally famous designer doesn't even know how to sketch, we're toldhe started in the industry selling men's neckwear. He has always been a natty dresser; he married his wife Ricky in 1964 and has three children; and, Trachtenberg further divulges, ``He makes a good towel.'' ( September )
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
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