Ralph Lauren to be honored by French-American Foundation in Versailles
Ralph Lauren will be celebrated in December by the French-American Foundation (FAF) as the guest of honor at its annual gala dinner in the Château de Versailles, given under the patronage of President Emmanuel Macron..
Lauren is the most famous designer in the world today: purely in terms of Google results he outranks any other living contemporary. The Lauren brand is easily America’s most successful fashion label, boasting 2017 revenues of $6.653 billion. This September, he celebrated his fashion house’s 50th anniversary with a stellar show during New York Fashion Week inside Central Park, a massive multi-ethnic catwalk event, attended by a dozen fellow designers, hosting a glittering dinner for 400 people, sitting between Hilary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.
Macron is the patron of the Gala Dinner of FAF, which was created in 1975 to counter anti-French sentiment in Washington politics, and anti-Americanism within certain segments of the French elite. Its principal project is the Young Leaders program, where a small group of talented individuals tipped as future decision makers in France and American meet for two five-day seminars in France and the US. Notable Young Leaders include Bill and Hillary Clinton; Senators Evan Bayh and Bill Bradley; François Hollande, Arnaud Montebourg, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Macron himself.
The 2018 FAF Gala Dinner will be held on December 4 in Versailles’ Galerie des Batailles. The dinner is a major event, uniting business leaders, cabinet ministers, diplomats, and supporters of close bilateral relations between France and America. The gala is also a major fundraising event for the Young Leaders program. An separate annual FAF-United States gala dinner in America sees two prominent individuals presented with the Benjamin Franklin award. Noted previous honorees include Bernard Arnault; Michel David-Weill and Anne Cox Chambers.
Lauren has had a long love affair with France, and particularly Paris, frequently drawing inspiration in his designs from French history and culture. In 2010, Lauren was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in recognition of his contributions as a designer, business leader and philanthropist. Paris was also the debut location for the first European exhibition of Ralph’s renowned automobile collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2011. Between those two locations, the designer also funded a two-year restoration of the famed Paris art college, L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
Born in NYC in gritty Bronx in 1939, Lauren started his first tie line in 1967, three years after completing two-year-service in the United States Army. Here in Paris, Lauren has lavishly restored a 17th century Hôtel Particulier on Boulevard Saint-Germain, to create an opulent Saint-Germain flagship. It’s also the location of Ralph’s restaurant, where this weekend his fashion house hosted a parents and kids brunch to support Pink Pony, his cancer charity aimed at reducing disparities in cancer care, by enhancing prevention and screening. Lauren has established a hospital for cancer care and prevention in Harlem and been chairman of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a charitable project of the CFDA. In 1987, Lauren underwent surgery for a benign brain tumor, and made a full recovery.
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