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Smithsonian honors Ralph Lauren for fashion, flag


By BRETT ZONGKER

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!

Flag Reply +25 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
3 replies
Shirley bmlg68 June 18 2014 at 12:26 PM

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

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
2 replies
bigred8690 Kate June 17 2014 at 7:24 PM

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

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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?

Flag Reply +1 rate up
napa422 June 17 2014 at 7:45 PM

congrats ralph!!!

Flag Reply +9 rate up
jimnivens1 June 17 2014 at 6:36 PM

he looks like he should be there, on display

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
woodmeistera1 jimnivens1 June 17 2014 at 6:44 PM

What's your point?

Flag Reply +10 rate up
1 reply
jimnivens1 woodmeistera1 June 17 2014 at 8:19 PM

are you too stupid to figure out my point

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drmbd627 jimnivens1 June 17 2014 at 9:09 PM

what do you mean?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Loefflers June 17 2014 at 11:17 PM

Love his clothes. Be designer around.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Mike June 18 2014 at 5:49 AM

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

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
bigred8690 June 17 2014 at 7:20 PM

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

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
4 replies
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