A 19th-century fountain in Manhattan’s Central Park provided a majestic backdrop for Ralph Lauren’s star-studded 50th anniversary blowout on Friday, a festive celebration of his past and present that included a runway show and a black-tie dinner.
Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively and Jessica Chastain were just a few of the dozens of celebrities gathered to fete Lauren, 78, and his decades atop the fashion world. Not to mention Hillary Clinton, who wore Lauren’s designs at numerous key moments of her presidential campaign — including the white “suffragette” pantsuit she wore to accept the Democratic nomination in Philadelphia.
“I love his clothes,” Clinton said. “You know he really was so generous and kind to help with all of my clothes during the campaign.”
It was Winfrey who had the job of toasting Lauren at dinner. “The real reason we are here is not the show,” she said. “It’s you. You Ralph Lauren, and 50 years of your designing our dreams.”
Winfrey told Lauren that he represented what was great in America. “Your story exalts our collective story,” she said. “Your designs define integrity.”
Old-fashioned trolley cars met guests on Fifth Avenue and shuttled them into the park, where the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain had been transformed into a party space. Guests sipped cocktails and watched, on towering vertical screens, highlights of Lauren shows over the years.
Then, everyone descended a granite staircase to the runway show, where velvet banquettes awaited and oriental carpets lined the floor.
The show, which fittingly began to the strains of Paul Simon’s “New York is My Home,” combined elements from various Lauren collections over the years, and included some older models who had been in early campaigns. And, in a second half celebrating the family, it included many smiling children, some small enough to be carried by the adults on the runway — and one baby fast asleep.
Lauren himself appeared on the staircase at the end, to thunderous cheers. He took a slow victory lap across the room while admirers applauded, hugged him if they were close by, or snapped photos furiously.
At dinner, which took place around the famous fountain, Lauren told the crowd that, contrary to the evening’s glamour, he wasn’t very glamorous at home. “I walk around in a ripped robe, and no towels,” he said.
He was referring to Winfrey’s anecdote, offered in her toast, about how, working in Chicago early in her career, she saw owning Ralph Lauren towels as a symbol of success.
“I vowed, if I ever got me some money I would get me some Ralph Lauren towels,” she said — specifically “bath sheets.” And she did.
Clinton, who sat next to Lauren, told the Associated Press their friendship dated back to the ’90s, when Clinton was working on a project to save American treasures, and Lauren helped save the star-spangled banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
“Ralph came forward and funded the conservation and restoration of the star-spangled banner,” she said, “and he and I were able to be there years later to once again put it on display and have it properly taken care of. His help made that happen. And we just became friends.”
Discount store Five Below opens in Midtown
A new discount chain store has opened its doors in the neighborhood. Located at 530 Fifth Ave. between 44th and 45th streets in Midtown, the new addition is a Five Below.
The main draw of Five Below is that every item is $5 or less. Customers can scour for everything from toys to phone accessories to candy to makeup and much more.
With a 3.5-star rating out of three reviews on Yelp so far, Five Below has made a promising start.
Anita W., who was among the first Yelpers to review the new spot on Nov. 3, wrote, “Everything here is very ‘in’ and I love how they incorporate the latest trends into the products. There’s definitely something for everyone, and it’s agreat gift or stocking stuffer destination.”
Head on over to check it out: Five Below is open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. from Monday-Saturday, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday.
Amazon Selects New York City For New Headquarters, Report Says
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has chosen New York City as one of two locations for its new headquarters.
It’s expected to be officially announced Tuesday.
The report says that Amazon will split the new facility between Long Island City and Arlington County in Virginia.
Amazon started a contest last year, with cities pitching plans to host the headquarters.
Black Friday Sales Blitz Starting Early
“Black Friday” is eleven days away, but your email inbox is probably already stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey with deals and early offers.
Retailers are eyeing the calendar and doing everything they can to get your excited about spending.
It’s already Black Friday on Best Buy, Amazon and many other sites offering early Black Friday bargains, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
While 30 percent off wool dryer balls may not fulfill many holiday dreams, but Amazon wants you to buy now.
“It’s really about grabbing a piece of the pie, the retailer wants you to shop with them versus their competition,” said Trae Bodge of SlickDeals.net.
Bodge, a smart shopping expert, says that’s why retailers including Macy’s are already posting their Black Friday ads well in advance of the actual sale.
It creates excitement, but also anxiety: Do you buy now or later?
Bodge says for electronics, wait for Black Friday. But for clothing?
“I’m seeing clearance level deals between 40-70 percent off from some retailers so it’s worth looking there,” Bodge said.
Black Friday is always a focal point on the shopping calendar, which this year gives retailers a reason to smile.
Rhoda Gennarelli, owner of the Pleasantville boutique Rhodadendron, says some years there are four shopping Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, there are five. ”
“It’s a bonus! It’s great,” she told Aiello.
She’ll offer Black Friday bargains, but thinks the push to offer earlier and earlier deals is self-defeating.
“If you start doing it now, Black Friday, traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, is going to mean nothing,” Gennarelli said.
Shopper Jean Bianco is tuning out the Black Friday email blitz.
“Too many emails, I unsubscribed to a lot, it’s taking up my whole email box,” said Bianco.
With offers coming in as early as July, what constitutes Black Friday is now a gray area.
Many websites now offer “deal alert” features, where you can register and get a notification when items on your list go on sale.
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