“Very Ralph” Review

Natalia Pozuelo-Arbide, Staff Reporter

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Social and cultural success came into the spotlight on Nov. 12 HBO premiere of the “Very Ralph” documentary, which focused on the life and success of the iconic American brand, Polo Ralph Lauren. As described by many friends of Ralph Lauren in the documentary, the brand is a symbol that individuals seek to identify with the American society image. 

The Bronx designer learned to use style as a way to fit in, the documentary explains. Today, he continues to show others how to use style as a means to leverage and present oneself in ways no words or actions will never be able too. 

Watching this documentary, the audience is able to understand the framework in which Ralph Lauren adheres to our understanding of America or the American dream. Every Lauren advertising campaign conjures up a cinematographic vision of life through cultural consistency and optimism. Peeking into Lauren’s aperture director eye, the setting for the Lauren story, the American story is unveiled. 

Fashion “opened a window to a world I didn’t grow up in,” explained the designer. The youngest of four siblings from European Jewish immigrant parents, Lauren had a humble upbringing in the Bronx where the elegance in the movies was a way to escape his real day routine. Working on collections, Lauren forges a scene, bringing the past into the future. This same strong vision embraces the evolving perception of what America stands for today, extending the adaptability into timeless designs. 

His son, David Lauren, says of his father, “The creative process for him is like breathing — a wall full of sketches, a painting he might have seen, something in a magazine that may have sparked his imagination, an artist who keeps adding layer and new colors.” 

Meanwhile, numerous admirers of Lauren claim no one needs to be a creative artist to understand the language of universal elements, so much so that most identify Polo Ralph Lauren’s collections as true American style. The designer is seen as an American ambassador for the world. Without a doubt, the documentary resonates with today’s more diverse America than ever seen before. 

We are almost in the year 2020, and the understanding of what it means to be a “true” American is without a doubt different than what it was ten, five, or even three years ago. This “understanding” involves various elements of culture, design and passion, all of which Lauren displayed at his 50th Anniversary Fashion in 2018 at Central Park, New York. The documentary extends a front-row seat to this inspiring spectacle, where the audience immediately experiences Lauren’s aura. 

Many children in America now grow up in in a dual-household culture, and Ralph Lauren’s 50th collection captured this multidimensional American identity. Lauren captured the essence that America is not one cultural society. One can connect the theme built at this show and a theme built into the core of the Jesuit Education. This theme, or value, is that America is an ever-changing, pluralistic society. That indeed is what Ralph’s brand and America’s brand represents — an array of cultures collected into various designs. 

All mixes of life, age, race, ethnicity, size and style were presented at this show. For over half a century, the designer has gracefully delivered the shared fantasies of the American identity, and layers that compose us all. As a son of immigrants, Lauren truly captures the essence of “America land of immigrants” cultivating these stories into elements in his collections. 

Spoiler alert for the ending of the documentary: The movie ends with Lauren stating, “Sometimes you have to fulfill your dreams to know what your dream is about. The real dream for me is family, children, having peace.”  

Surely, if Ralph Lauren can dream it, why can’t we?