Ralph has had a helluva 12 months or so. He celebrated his 50th year in business with a triumphant Central Park show and, followed by a ’30’s nightclub fete, culminating in HBO’s “Very Ralph,” his first documentary.
Where better to screen and celebrate the iconic Ralph, than at the Met, and as many pointed out, artistry was celebrated among the very finest art. Award winning director, Susan Lacy — not a fan of public speaking — said “Ralph is probably as nervous as I am” and Audrey probably said it best and let the film roll.
Audrey regally told us, in the opening footage of the film, shot when Ralph received the first CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, “It’s staggering you not only created a total concept of fashion and style, but by your constancy and integrity, protected it always, reminding us of the best things in life.”
The film begins unashamedly, with his modest, though always-fashionable Bronx beginnings. He and Ricky slept on a mattress on the floor, and created décor from fur scraps they scrounged in the garment district. He is often derided for his Wasp-ing of his given name, Lifschitz, but his very funny brother Jerry said, ‘Cohen, Goldberg, Greenberg would be fine, but Lifshitz?”
And so Lauren was created. There are scores of interviews — Anna, Donna, Calvin, Hillary (yes, Clinton — Ralph restored the Star Spangled Banner Flag at her request); also Karl at the end of his life, Martha, Naomi (Ralph was a groundbreaker in diverse models), Kanye, Woody (yes, Allen, who said, to explain his inclusion in a fashion biopic, “Well, I did start dressing myself at 48”). I commented to Ralph’s son David how many interviews there were (the film runs 1 hour and 40 minutes). And he told me, “There were so many more we couldn’t use.” “Part 2?” I wondered, “Maybe” he responded, with a smile.
While Ralph may have been featured in many ads, he wasn’t social and you’d rarely see a party pic of him. He told a story of being invited to parties in Easthampton over the years that they wouldn’t attend. One day, driving down their street he saw lines of cars parked for parties within. “Wow, we weren’t invited,” forgetting his multitudes of regrets. “It would be nice to be invited.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about being at home(s) with family for Ralph, especially his beloved wife and muse, Ricky.
Feeling very Polo, we trotted down to the Temple of Dendur, where they were serving Ralph’s favorites: pigs in blankets, mini-lobster rolls, cheeseburger sliders, seafood tower offerings, also featured at The Polo Bar.
I couldn’t really see Ralph, being diminutive and surrounded by well wishers and press, but his image and core are imprinted in my memory, in great part because of this loving, thorough documentary.
I swapped my Louboutins for loafers and rode east to visit my college bestie and Matron of Honor, Cindy Mullin, for lunch at her cozy club. She’s moving to Florida (another one bites the dust!), and this was a farewell for now.
The girls often have lunch on the weekend at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, and this time we were joined by Candace Bushnell’s elegant poodle pups, Prancer and Pepper. I hope I’m not outing Pierre. They were the best behaved patrons there and easily the best looking.
Doug Steinbrech (praised plastic surgeon to many, sadly, not me) gave a beautiful birthday dinner for his partner, Jeff Sharp (Executive Director of The Independent Film Project). The group of at least 60, included many of Jeff’s Colgate pals (he just joined the Board), St. Bernard’s parents (their son Jack attends), movie folks and the rest of us.
I was beautifully seated between Bill Manger who is an exec in the Small Business Administration, and Michael Morelli, a 33 year-now retired, Ralph Lauren veteran (they are everywhere, fortunately, and they always look good). When Doug asked us to share a ‘dirty story’ about Jeff, we all fell mute. He is a big, blonde squeaky-clean Boy Scout. The best anyone could do was a school story about a jar of rubber cement being foisted under his patrician nostrils. Happy Birthday beautiful pal.
And speaking of birthdays, I know you are dying to hear just one more about mine. Well … this has merit. My long time friend, from Finch, The Parrish and more took me to dinner to carry on her dad’s lovely tradition.
For 20 years, the first call I’d receive on my birthday (often before, or instead of, family) was from her wonderful father, Harold Siegel. I always felt so special and slightly unworthy of his amazing thoughtfulness. Turns out, he had 3,000 people on his birthday call list! Sadly he passed away this summer, but not before requesting that his four grandchildren take over the list. Now we hear “ Hi, I’m Harold Siegel’s grand- (fill in) and I’m calling to wish you a happy birthday. What a legacy, what a wonderful fellow.