When I started working on Very Ralph, the documentary film about Ralph Lauren that I recently produced and directed for HBO, I knew only a few basic facts about the designer. He was born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx, he got his start by selling ties out of a drawer in the Empire State Building, his clothing and lifestyle products are beautiful and expensive, his ads are among my favorites, and his name conjures up a very specific image of a life of ease and plenty. But over the course of making the film, I discovered the nuanced, multifaceted man behind the brand.
It’s All About the Movies
Like many kids growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, Ralph went to the movies every Saturday. The movies opened up worlds to him that he never would have encountered any other way, growing up in a middle-class Bronx neighborhood with parents who were Jewish immigrants from Russia.