By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Top fashion designer Ralph Lauren marked 50 years in the business on Friday with a celebrity-filled gala in Manhattan’s Central Park.
The American fashion house hosted the fashion show and dinner attended by a veritable who’s who of names from the worlds of entertainment, media and fashion.
Hollywood stars Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain rubbed elbows under the stars, as they sipped wine alongside journalist Anderson Cooper, media titan Barry Diller, director Steven Spielberg and Lauren’s fellow designers, Diane von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger.
Also on hand to pay tribute to Lauren were brand name powerhouses Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, as well as fashion world doyenne Anna Wintour, who sported her signature dark glasses.
“The real reason we’re all here is not because of the show, but because of you Ralph,” Winfrey told the glittering assemblage.
A fashion show featuring well over 100 female, male, adult and child models was followed by a sit-down dinner in the park.
Lauren’s looks hewed close to the traditional style for which he is famous, featuring plaids, tweeds, suede and western-themed fleece collared jackets.
Muted earth tones prevailed, while gowns were rendered in burgundy and geometric metallics.
The designer himself sported jeans and a suit jacket, topped by a bow tie, as he made his way through the A-list crowd, which included his grown children.
What evolved into a so-called lifestyle brand began humbly in 1967 as a collection of men’s neckties, until a year later Lauren struck gold with his Polo menswear label.
Lauren’s designs for women did not appear until the 1970s.
The brand is expanding in international markets through new small-format stores as its biggest North America market becomes saturated.
Ralph Lauren is also wooing millennials through new designs that add embroidery, print and color blocking, refreshed fabrics and increased functionality.
(Editing by Robert Birsel)