fashion

Ralph Lauren to become first American designer to receive British knighthood

Published 15th November 2018
Designer Ralph Lauren receives applause from models after his fashion show Spring-Summer 1999.
Credit: Stan Honda
Ralph Lauren to become first American designer to receive British knighthood
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Written by Channing Hargrove, Refinery29
This is an edited version of an article originally published by Refinery29, the leading next-gen media and entertainment company focused on women. The opinions in this article belong to the author.
Now we have concrete proof Queen Elizabeth II knows the power of fashion. Earlier this summer, we speculated the meaning behind the brooches Princes William and Harry's grandmother wore during Donald Trump's visit to London and what message she was sending by wearing that hat to the Royal Wedding. But now we know that Her Royal Highness doesn't just view fashion as a way to have fun with us commoners.
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On Wednesday, WWD reported HRH named Ralph Lauren an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Lauren, who celebrated 50 years in business in September, now can request to be called Ralph Lauren KBE, if he wishes.
Antony Phillipson, Queen Elizabeth's Trade Commissioner for North America and British Consul General to New York, tells WWD Lauren earned the honor because "in fashion, business and philanthropy," he has played a "key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections." Phillipson went on to call the designer a "vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century."
American fashion designer Ralph Lauren greets attendees after presenting his creations during the New York Fashion Week on February 12, 2018, in New York.
American fashion designer Ralph Lauren greets attendees after presenting his creations during the New York Fashion Week on February 12, 2018, in New York. Credit: Jewel Samad
This isn't Queen Elizabeth's first time awarding a designer this year. In February, the Queen sat front row next to Anna Wintour at Richard Quinn's AW18 presentation, where she was on hand to present the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
The accolade, which, according to WWD, was "initiated in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy," will be given to designers who "show exceptional talent and originality while demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies."
Ralph Lauren acknowledges greetings after his fashion show in the Spaso House, US Ambassador's residence in Moscow, May 15, 2007.
Ralph Lauren acknowledges greetings after his fashion show in the Spaso House, US Ambassador's residence in Moscow, May 15, 2007. Credit: Mikhail Metzel
Lauren is the first American fashion designer to receive such an award; among the rare group of Americans similarly celebrated by the British monarchy, he's now in the company of Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, former New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani, Angelina Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Angela Ahrendts. Lauren's honorary knighthood insignia will be presented by one of the Queen's men at a ceremony next year.
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