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Ralph Lauren’s love of Europe

April 22, 2010

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Ralph and Ricky Lauren in Paris

Last week was quite the week for all American fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Not only did he open a new flagship store in Paris, he was also awarded Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur by none other then the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Lauren received the honor for his career in fashion of more then 30 years, for his achievements in building the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, one of the most significant lifestyle empires on the planet, and for his philanthropic activities, particularly his eager dedication to the fight against breast cancer. In honoring Ralph Lauren, President Sarkozy compared the designer to Barack Obama saying that “You represent an America we like very much – you and Barack Obama are the American dream.”

In an interview for the Style section of the International Herald Tribune, Lauren returned Sarkozy’s American tribute when he shared his love of France and Europe: “In truth, I don’t know if I am American, English or French – the world is one. […] I felt that even though I am considered an American designer, in my mind I am connected to Europe. Europeans have a very fine taste level, quality and sophistication.”

The new Ralph Lauren flagship store is situated on Paris’ left bank on the fashionable boulevard Saint-Germain in an 1866 town house that used to be an embassy and a hotel. With six floors and 13,000 sq. ft – roughly 1200 square meters – it is the largest Ralph Lauren Store in Europe. Besides the entire men’s and women’s collections, the store also houses a vintage floor, a watch salon as well as a restaurant called ‘Ralph’.

Restaurant ‘Ralph’, that will open to the public in a couple of weeks, serves all American food, including fried chicken, burgers, crab cakes and Angus beef steaks from Ralph Lauren’s cattle on his ranch in Colorado. The all-French restaurant staff flew to New York City for a week where American chef Danny Meyer, whose restaurants include Grammercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, The Modern and Shake Shack, trained them in preparing the dishes on the menu ‘the American way’.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, the founder of the 5 billion dollar fashion empire – who turned 70 in 2009 – planned a few more novelties this year, including a newly constructed building on New York City’s Madison Avenue and the recent launch of a new fragrance called Summer Romance.

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