South O’ the Highway

‘WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren’ Comes Out June 5

A detailed history of the East End's king of fashion.

A Rizzoli book catching quite a buzz on East End coffee tables this summer is WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren, which chronicles the legendary career trajectory of Montauk’s Ralph Lauren as documented by WWD, a fashion-industry trade journal sometimes called “the bible of fashion.”

WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren, Courtesy Rizzoli
The cover of WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren, Courtesy Rizzoli

In a July 1967 issue of Daily News Record, a WWD sister publication, Lauren was identified as the “head of Beau Brummell’s one-man Polo division.” Over the next 51 years, Lauren would turn the enterprise into a $7.5 billion behemoth. WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren has all the receipts. The book actually begins 54 years ago—three years before he founded the Polo brand—when readers were first introduced to the then 24-year-old salesman for Rivetz Neckwear.

What follows is, essentially, a decidedly well-put-together scrapbook of WWD’s near obsessive coverage of Lauren’s stratospheric career arc, along with images of the fashion icon at work, celebrities and models donning Lauren’s creations and several timelines showing the evolution of Lauren’s brands.

Of particular interest to proud East Enders, is the article from July 5, 1999, documenting the opening of Lauren’s East Hampton location. Does anyone remember him being in the store on opening day, selling clothes? But not only proud East Enders will find something to love in this book. Any fashion conscious, fashion forward person with an interest in fashion history will find a detailed examination of Lauren’s career and what it has meant to the fashion world. If one is not a fashionista but simply enjoys thumbing through a carefully planned and well-executed coffee table book, the unique layout of WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren is sure to please. 

WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren, published by Rizzoli, is available for purchase for $60 starting June 5 on

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