Ralph Lauren celebrates the 50th anniversary of the polo shirt

Ralph Lauren/Rizzoli International

“When you wear a polo shirt, you are instantly engaged in a deep irony between being unique, but also, because so many others around the world wear it, belonging,” director Ken Burns writes in the foreword to a new book celebrating the iconic 50th anniversary of the shirt. Indeed, one could argue that it is precisely this sense of duality that has made the famous style an icon of American fashion, reflecting the dichotomy of Americans’ simultaneous desire to stand out and be “in”. Undeniably, the shirt tapped into something inherently stylish, still as effortlessly chic today as it was when it first hit the market in 1972.

Ralph Lauren polo shirt

Today, Ralph Lauren launches its celebration of 50 years of timeless polo style with initiatives that embrace both the history and future of polo, including, above all, a new 544-page coffee table book published by Rizzoli International, titled Ralph Lauren polo shirt. In it, the brand looks back on the impact of polo over the past five decades with historic imagers and the personal polo stories of celebrities, athletes, politicians and even royals.

“I wanted the shirt to be part of the life of the person who wore it. Little did I know that after fifty years it would become such a personal icon all over the world”, writes Ralph Lauren himself in the introduction . “What I do has always come from the way people live. It’s honest and from the heart and I hope that’s what touches the diversity of people who wear my polo shirt and all my clothes.”

Alongside the book, the brand is also launching a number of other initiatives to honor the polo’s big anniversary, including the release of a selection of vintage and collectible designs from the archive collection, as well as a new collection The Upcycled Polo Shirt that are handcrafted. -restored by Los Angeles-based Atelier & Repairs to give shirts a second life, a customization program that lets you design your own perfect Polo, and international concept stores in Berlin and Ginza.

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