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Smithsonian honors Ralph Lauren for fashion, flag


WASHINGTON (AP) - Ralph Lauren's love for the American flag and American style earned him high honors Tuesday from the Smithsonian Institution, celebrating his five decades in fashion.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton helped present the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal to the designer at the National Museum of American History following a naturalization ceremony for 15 new U.S. citizens. The award also marks the 200th anniversary of the actual flag that inspired the national anthem.

Clinton noted that Lauren, 74, is the son of immigrants from Belarus who grew up in the Bronx, New York.

"Now surely Ralph and his family ... could not have imagined, or maybe they could have when they landed in the Bronx, that their lives would be the embodiment of the American dream," Clinton said. "In particular, Ralph, the youngest, would become synonymous with American aspiration and style."

Clinton wore a pantsuit to Tuesday's event that was Lauren's first-ever custom-designed outfit for her, including a cobalt-blue structured silk jacket.

Clinton and Lauren first joined forces in 1998, when she was first lady, to raise money for the Smithsonian to preserve the original "Star-Spangled Banner" flag that inspired the national anthem, along with other historic artifacts, through Clinton's Save America's Treasures program. Lauren donated $10 million to help restore the flag and another $3 million to support the historic preservation program.

"Ralph responded to the call. He didn't have to," Clinton said. "But he understood because it was deep within him that part of being an American is giving back."

Lauren is known for designs that have defined American fashion and for his patriotic uniforms for U.S. Olympic athletes. He got his start selling ties from a drawer at the Empire State Building. Now Ralph Lauren Corp. has 25,000 employees worldwide.

The Smithsonian award citation honored Lauren "for his embodiment of the American experience through fashion, design and philanthropy."

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bmlg68 June 17 2014 at 8:34 PM

Ralph Lauren has always been a class act in my book. His clothing line is like no other. Simplistic elegance!

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2 replies
captjameslee bmlg68 June 18 2014 at 4:59 AM

he is first class and an american icon. hilary clinton dosen't deserve to be in the same city as him much less share the same stage. liars and great people need not assotiate with each other.

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3 replies
Shirley bmlg68 June 18 2014 at 12:26 PM

Simple Elegance has been my life, even with jewelry... it's marvelous

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memaw7824 June 17 2014 at 7:39 PM

Thank you, Mr. Lauren!!

Flag Reply +17 rate up
Kate June 17 2014 at 6:43 PM

Good for him. I have a Lauren blazer that I picked up at a consignment store 15 years ago, and it will probably last longer than I will, laugh.

I don't always like his designs, but he sure does quality work.

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2 replies
bigred8690 Kate June 17 2014 at 7:24 PM

Quality is not enough to qualify for being honored in the Smithsonian.

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2 replies
kcarthey bigred8690 June 17 2014 at 7:44 PM

Read the fri**** article before making stupid, negative comments.

Flag +17 rate up
NICKIE'S PLACE bigred8690 June 18 2014 at 9:49 AM

It's about the FLAG not his clothing line.

Flag +1 rate up
junior Kate June 17 2014 at 7:33 PM

Was it made in China?

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napa422 June 17 2014 at 7:45 PM

congrats ralph!!!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
Loefflers June 17 2014 at 11:17 PM

Love his clothes. Be designer around.

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clemley01 June 17 2014 at 10:37 PM

Though the documents where for bid purposes only, they did clearly depict damaged content and did clearly demonstrate damaged portions of the flag. We found the documents to be very usefull for the determation of the extent of the required restrorative measures reguired to fulfill the Governments statement of work and the magnitude of human involvment required for the restorative level of effort.

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Mike June 18 2014 at 5:49 AM

It's the fools who pay big bucks for his clothes who should be lauded.

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1 reply
MICHAEL Mike June 18 2014 at 10:28 AM

just because your style is under cover gear from k-mart, doesnt mean others dont like to be well dressed.

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bigred8690 June 17 2014 at 7:20 PM

Ralph Lauren is overrated. Anyone with an ounce of creativity avoids anything he designs.

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3 replies
patriot1too June 18 2014 at 7:08 AM

Too bad he had his photo taken with that media hound feminist cult member hillery clinton. We no longer have any use for him or his products after this.

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4 replies
stengernc June 18 2014 at 12:21 PM

In a world gone mad with religious anger, greed and stupidity how can America not be sucked into more wars of which we cannot afford. Afghanistan and Iraq have bleed over 2 trillion dollars out of our taxes and what have achieved for that investment....nothing. The middle east is having a civil war over religion and we cannot solve it so let them beat the crap out of each other while we focus on becoming self sufficient. Israel choose to create their tiny country surrounded by hostile people so let them either move to Texas or fight it out there. No one is a chosen people....killing and greed automatically disqualify you for a discussion and forgiveness from god.

There is no fashion for war, just long term self destruction.

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