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POLO MATCH: French newspaper Le Monde published a letter from Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. in today’s edition clarifying what the American firm said were numerous inaccuracies in an article dated Oct. 24.
Le Monde had accused Lauren — who staged a gala fashion event Oct. 8 at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris to kick off a two-year commitment to help modernize the landmark fine arts school — of running roughshod over students’ rights and disrupting their access to ateliers in the run-up to the runway.
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Furthermore, the article by Nicole Vulser insisted Lauren should have offered scholarships in lieu of outfitting a crumbling lecture theater with improved stadium seating and the latest audio-visual equipment, suggesting it chose the latter option as a more attractive tax break. The project represents a financial commitment of several million dollars.
The Lauren letter said the donation was done in full consultation with the school, which had proposed the theater upgrade as its most pressing improvement need. It also noted the school approved the Oct. 8 event, informed students about it and that any disruption lasted a little more than a day, not a week as Le Monde had reported.
“Long engaged in philanthropy, the Ralph Lauren group has a very strong connection with the French heritage, especially in Paris, where it restored a large 17th-century mansion,” the letter says, referring to Ralph Lauren’s largest European store, which opened on nearby Boulevard Saint-Germain in 2010.