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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Ralph Lauren

We're familiar with the brand, but what about the man himself?

His namesake label is one of the most instantly recognized in the world, with its iconic emblem and signature polo t-shirts, with a multi-billion dollar global enterprise and an estimated net worth of approximately $5.5 billion. Whilst September 2015 saw Lauren stepping down as the brand’s chief executive officer, the American fashion designer has remained as its executive chairman and chief creative officer.

01: HE HAS A RARE, PRICELESS COLLECTION OF CARS

Aside from his fashion ventures, Lauren is also relatively famous for his collection of rare and priceless automobiles, including a 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic Coupé and a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK “Count Trossi” roadster. Lauren’s collection is not just to be admired, though. The designer revealed in a 2010 Vanity Fair interview that the cars “don’t just sit here”, and are regularly driven.

02: THERE ARE 3 RALPH LAUREN RESTAURANTS

Lauren owns three restaurants in Paris, New York and Chicago. In case you worried they were obscure, hard-to-find restaurants, their names might be telling, from Ralph’s in Paris, Chicago’s RL Restaurant, and New York’s Polo Bar. The restaurants are all favorably reviewed, and if you ever drop by the Polo Bar in New York City, Lauren lists his favorite menu item as the warm corned beef sandwich, which he calls a “New York classic”.

03: A TRIBUTE TO CLOSE FRIEND NINA HYDE

The fashion mogul built his second breast cancer research as a tribute to his close friend, Nina Hyde, who died in 1990 after a long battle with breast cancer. Hyde, who was the fashion editor of The Washington Post for 18 years, was first diagnosed five years before her death, before she worked fervently to raise awareness for breast cancer. She raised $2 million for Georgetown University Medical Center, which co-established Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research in 1989 with Ralph Lauren. “Breast Cancer is not just a women’s issue,” says Lauren. “It affects all of us – the husbands, fathers, brothers, children and friends of the women dealing with this dreaded disease.”

04: THE BRAND DABBLED IN SMART SHIRTS

Though his brand eventually became best known for its polo shirts, last August saw the label’s debut in smart technology. The new sensors-equipped smart tech shirts for men reads your vital signs and creates an ideal, customized workout based on the information streamed to an app.

05: HIS ORIGIN STORY

Ralph Lauren started out designing wide neck ties, which he sold out of the Empire State Building and delivered by hand to retailers. They were made from cloth scraps and rags. He struck gold when Neiman Marcus decided to buy 1,200 at once.

This story first appeared in LuxuryInsider.com.