Ralph Lauren Celebrates Golden Anniversary at Versailles

Courtesy of Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren

"When I started my business, I was 6-foot-4," joked the designer of his five decades in fashion.

Ralph Lauren continued to celebrate his golden anniversary in fine form on Tuesday night, bringing his brand's birthday party to the gilded Palace of Versailles in France. And why not? After all, he is the king of American fashion.

Lauren and 700 guests wandered the palace's private apartments, the famed hall of mirrors and sipped champagne in Napoleon's coronation room before settling under the soaring ceilings of the great battles gallery for a feast. The designer told The Hollywood Reporter that all the pomp was “a little overwhelming,” but the room was done up in red plaid and warm light for the cool winter evening.

The man behind Priyanka Chopra's weekend wedding dress (he said his inspiration for the gorgeous gown was “beauty, life, living and love,” calling the bride “gorgeous”) attributes his long career to consistency.

“What I do is not fashion. No, because fashion is high today and low tomorrow, and I like to be constant,” said Lauren. Making it 50 years in the fashion business is no easy task, he told the crowd, which included a bleach-blonde Alber Elbaz, StudioCanal chair Maxime Saada, U.S. ambassador Jamie McCourt and French actor Jean Reno.

“When I started my business I was 6-foot-4, and that shows you what the fashion business can do to you,” joked the diminutive designer, who added that he's due for a rest.

Speaking onstage, Lauren praised his French CEO Patrice Louvet, saying that the new executive, who took over last year, “is knowledgeable and well educated, but he also has a heart and a vision, and that combination I don't believe everybody has.”

Lauren said that while his motivation has always been to make his company successful, he has also stayed true to his personal philosophy: “I think the reason I have lasted 50 years in the fashion business is that I have been passionate.”

Lauren also keeps things in perspective. “I think clothes are what you use to do your living — it's not about the color of your shirt. Things that make you feel good help you live your life,” he said.

Lauren had been set to receive a state honor from President Emanuel Macron, but it was postponed due to the ongoing economic protests in Paris that have seen riots on the famed Champs Elysees. (The honor will be rescheduled for next year.)

The designer acknowledged the political unrest, expressing his love for France and its people. “I know this is a very tough time; we all go through tough times,” Lauren said. “It's a good country, a great country, a beautiful country. I thank you for having me. I love it, and I truly mean that. The people that I've met here are wonderful.”