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Ralph Lauren to be honoured at The Fashion Awards

Lauretta Roberts
21 November 2016

Ralph Lauren will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award at The Fashion Awards 2016, the British Fashion Council has revealed.

The legendary American designer will be honoured for his invaluable contribution to the fashion industry at the gala event (previously the British Fashion Awards), held in partnership with Swarovski, which takes place on Monday 5 December at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

For the past 50 years, Ralph Lauren and has “helped define the American fashion identity”, the BFC said. “Through his tireless commitment to design, innovation, business and philanthropy, Ralph Lauren has established himself as a pillar of the global fashion community,” it added.

Ralph Lauren launched his tie and menswear business in 1967 and within five years was presenting a full line of Polo by Ralph Lauren menswear at New York Fashion Week. In that the same year (1972) he launched a womenswear line.

The Ralph Lauren family of brands has since shaped the contemporary image of quintessential Americana. With campaigns shot by long-term collaborators like Bruce Weber, Sheila Metzner, Mark Seliger and Stephen Meisel, the Ralph Lauren brand had "cemented a visual heritage that is instantly recognisable", the BFC said.

Most famous for his polo shirts Ralph Lauren has forged strong ties with the sports industry throughout his career. The brand is the Official Outfitter of the US Olympic and Paralympic Teams, an Official Outfitter of the United States Golf Association and the US Open Championship; an Official Outfitter of the PGA of America, PGA Championship and US Ryder Cup Team; and an Official Outfitter of the US Open Tennis Championships and the Wimbledon Championships.

He has also been responsible for some of the most memorable fashion moments from the film industry from “Annie Hall’s” androgynous sophistication to the bright pink fairy-tale gown Gwyneth Paltrow wore to collect her Oscar in 1999.

His philanthropic endeavours include the co-founding of the Nina Hyde Centre for Breast Cancer Research in 1989 and his continued support of a multitude of causes through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation. In 2000, the Ralph Lauren Corporation launched the Pink Pony Fund, later founding the Ralph Lauren Centre for Cancer Care in Harlem, New York, and The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research at The Royal Marsden in London.

Lauren also established the American Heroes Fund to help with the relief effort following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and he donated $13m towards preserving the original Star-Spangled Banner.

Dame Natalie Massenet, Chairman British Fashion Council described Lauren as “an exemplary designer and businessman”. “He has helped to define an era in both American and global fashion with his singular vision; I know that most of us would say he has inspired us immeasurably. He has built an outstanding legacy and I look forward to celebrating him for years to come,” Dame Natalie added.

Previous winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award include: Karl Lagerfeld (2015), Anna Wintour OBE (2014), Terry and Tricia Jones (2013) and Manolo Blahnik CBE (2012).

The Fashion Awards 2016 have been repositioned to celebrate the best talent from the global fashion community and will be the inaugural annual fundraiser gala for the British Fashion Council Education Foundation charity, which offers scholarships to young people to study BAs and MAs and offers funding for apprenticeships to develop industry skills. The British Fashion Council aims to raise £10m over the next ten years for the charity.

Other honorary award recipients on the evening include the Isabella Blow Fashion Creator Award which will go legendary American photographer Bruce Weber and the Swarovski Award for Positive Change which will be presented to Vogue Italia Editor Franca Sozzani.

For a full list of nominees click here.

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