Click through the slides to view the Jewish designer’s latest collection
You could call Ralph Lauren’s (birth name Lifshitz) pre-fall collection “Fifty Shades of Grey,” as the color palette ranged from grays and silvers to gray-beiges. “Very delicate, very sleek, very modern, with touches of detail,” Lauren said before the show. The runway show took place on January 8th, 2014, at his Madison Avenue flagship store.
Born in the Bronx to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, from Pinsk, Poland, at age 16 Ralph changed his surname from Lifshitz to Lauren.
“My given name has the word ‘shit’ in it,” he told Oprah Winfrey. “When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That’s why I decided to change it. Then people said, ‘Did you change your name because you don’t want to be Jewish?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ That’s not what it’s about. My cousins who lived in California had changed their last name to Lawrence. So I just thought, ‘I’m going to pick a nice last name’—it wasn’t particularly connected to anything or anyone.”
In fact, in 1964, he married Ricky Anne Loew-Beer, the daughter of an Austrian Catholic mother and a Jewish father. Ralph’s family was so proud of its Judaism that he kept secret from his parents that his new bride was only half Jewish and that her mother was a gentile.