For more than six decades crisp cotton, relaxed linen and rugged leather goods bearing the name Ralph Lauren have been staples of smart-casual dress. From a typical boyhood in the Bronx, Lauren and his designs have risen to iconic ubiquity and come to define classic American style. HBO has announced that a “documentary portrait” of the Montauker titled Very Ralph will debut this November.
Very Ralph will include Lauren’s reflections on his childhood, marriage to Ricky Lauren and the challenges of building and expanding his brand. He was as much a pioneer as his Old West inspired Lauren Ralph Lauren collection would suggest. He was one of the first fashion designers to expand into homewares and furniture, and he’s since opened the swanky, dark-wood Polo Bar on Fifth Avenue and Ralph’s Coffee on Madison Avenue. In June, he became the first American fashion designer to become an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Just a sliver of his personal and professional history makes clear his is a story worth telling, and many colleagues and friends jumped at the chance to contribute. Those interviewed for the film are a who’s who of cultural royalty, and include Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, André Leon Talley, Hillary Clinton, Robin Givhan, Jason Wu, Naomi Campbell, Martha Stewart, Tyson Beckford, Calvin Klein, Tina Brown, Diane von Furstenberg, Jessica Chastain, Vanessa Friedman, Paul Goldberger and others, as well as members of Lauren’s family. The film is directed by Susan Lacy, known for the documentaries Spielberg and Jane Fonda in Five Acts, which screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival last year.
The film will be available to stream on HBO beginning on Tuesday, November 12. Telling the story of such an illustrious designer (and Hamptonite) may just bring HBO back from their post–Game of Thrones subscription slump.