According to the Ralph Lauren website, Ralph Lauren Purple Label is the luxury men's wear fashion label of the Ralph Lauren brand, available exclusively at Ralph Lauren and high-end department stores. Manufactured in Italy, the Ralph Lauren Purple Label is the brand's high-end American power-dressing men's wear line designed by the American Fashion Designer, Ralph Lauren, a recipient of the CFDA American Fashion Legend Award.
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The Ralph Lauren brand was launched in 1968. According to New York Magazine's Label Overview, "Lauren began with a handmade line of wide, colourful ties and men's wear, which paved the way to launch his own in-store boutique in Bloomingdale's in 1969." In 1994, Ralph Lauren launched the Purple Label men's wear line, the fourth addition to the Ralph Lauren brand, following the Ralph Lauren Collection, Polo Ralph Lauren and Ralph Lauren Golf labels. The Luxottica Group cites the Ralph Lauren Purple Label for having "a fresh take on traditional bespoke tailoring, Ralph Lauren Purple Label is the ultimate expression of modern elegance for men." In 2003, Ralph Lauren launched the Purple Label Cologne for men.
Each article of clothing in the Ralph Lauren Purple Label collection is equipped with a purple label with the Ralph Lauren Signature scrawled on it. Non-clothing items in the Purple Label Collection, however, do not necessarily posses the purple label, but are recognised for their high-end craftsmanship that presents the image of luxury.
Both Jay-Z and Beyonce have repeatedly mentioned the Ralph Lauren Purple Label in their songs, from Jay-Z's 'Change Clothes' to the Beyonce song 'Upgrade U' featuring Jay-Z. In 2006, MTV analysed the song Upgrade U, explaining that Beyonce's line "Switch your necktie to Purple Labels" is an extension of Jay-Z's "hollering about Ralph Lauren's Purple Label --- a higher-end division of the legendary designer's clothing line --- for a few years now." In 2008, LeBron James and Ralph Lauren partnered together to benefit the LeBron James Family Foundation according to Cleveland.com "fifteen per cent of the proceeds from the evening [went to] the foundation, along with 100 percent of the net proceeds of the 300 limited-edition Ralph Lauren Purple Label basketballs on offer. The balls went for £195 a pop; the same balls with James' autograph were £650 each."
According to the Ralph Lauren website, Ralph Lauren's Purple Label Fall 2002 Collection took Europe by storm in Milan and was "heralded by DNR as the top collection of the season, it [was] only the second show of menswear in the 35-year history of Polo Ralph Lauren, and the first in Milan. The collection of powerfully elegant, consummately luxurious menswear, tailored with old world artistry and shown in Lauren's Milan palazzo, is "the only show to receive a spontaneous standing ovation" during Fashion Week.
Ralph Lauren's website claims that Lauren went to one of his tailors in London and asked him to make him "a suit, with a clean, structured shape. [Lauren] brought the suit back to New York. People said, 'Hey, great suit!' and [he] said, 'This is what I want to make next.'" After his epiphany Ralph Lauren launched the Ralph Lauren Purple Label, which is best known for its suits. Luxottica Group describes the pieces in the Ralph Lauren Purple Label collection varying " from precisely tailored Made to Measure suits to sophisticated sportswear and exceptionally crafted accessories... The Purple Label Eyewear Collection embodies Ralph Lauren's luxurious designs, featuring vintage-inspired silhouettes and highlighting classic designs and colors."
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- Ralph Lauren; History
- New York Magazine; Label Overview: Ralph Lauren
- MTV.com; "Luxury Ties, Fancy Suites: A Guide To Beyonce And Jay-Z's 'Upgrade U'"; Shaheem Reid; Dec 20 2006
- Luxottica Group; Licensed Brands: Ralph Lauren Purple Label;
- Cleveland.com; "Fashion Week SS09: LeBron James!"; Kim Crow; Sep 20 2008