Ralph Lauren could easily be the poster boy for "Fabulous at 40."
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The chairman and chief executive officer of the $4.3 billion Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. has had a busy 12 months. Among some of the year's highlights was a family trip to Moscow, where Lauren unveiled two flagships; winning the Council of Fashion Designers of America's first American Legend Award (presented by Oprah Winfrey) and the Menswear Designer of the Year the same night, and a gala and spring fashion show in September at the Central Park Conservatory Garden in Manhattan to celebrate the big birthday. In light of his longevity in the business, the designer was the subject of numerous business profiles and appeared on such covers as Fortune, Town & Country, Men's Vogue, Architectural Digest, Esquire, GQ Russia and Japan's GQ throughout the fall.
"I can't believe I'm living this life," exclaimed Lauren at the anniversary gala to a crowd that included Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Donna Karan, Carolina Herrera, Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Designers, celebrities, retailers and friends mixed and mingled under the stars, where dinner was served among 10 400-pound urns of pink hydrangeas, 11 chandeliers and table scapes in full Ralph Lauren splendor. Bloomberg took the mic and exclaimed, "If you called central casting and said, 'Find me a great New Yorker,' they would send Ralph Lauren."
But New York was hardly the only place where Lauren made his mark this year. Following the opening in 2006 of the largest Ralph Lauren store in the world — an 18,000-square-foot flagship in Tokyo — Lauren put down roots in Moscow in May.
"I feel like I'm an ambassador of America," said Lauren after he cut the ribbon of his first Russian flagship — a stately three-floor white house located down the street from Red Square. "I feel so proud to be an American brand in Russia."