Ralph Lauren

50 Years of Sexy

BY: Andy Shoulders

Not many names are as recognizable in American fashion as Ralph Lauren. For 50 years, he has been, as Oprah perfectly put it, “designing our dreams.” He has consistently broken barriers and pushed the envelope, giving us some of the sexiest and most iconic fashion images we’ve ever seen.

“Breaking rules,” “sexy,” and “risky” aren’t phrases usually associated with Ralph Lauren. What usually come to mind first are images of the famous Polo insignia and good ol’ red, white & blue. However, we forget that Ralph Lauren has given us some of the sexiest ad campaigns that fashion could conjure.

Take Tyson Beckford and Naomi Campbell’s iconic 1996 Polo Sport ads for instance. Never before had two models of color carried the weight of an entire campaign on their shoulders. Lauren’s staunch resolve to stay true to his creative vision (despite several markets refusing to even run the ad) launched the careers of Beckford and Campbell into a new stratosphere, and took the Ralph Lauren brand right along with it. This brand of “Americana sexy” continued through the years in boundary-pushing ads that many have since forgotten (go ahead and click here for Ron Kochevar’s 1999 Ralph Lauren Underwear ad. I’ll wait).

Ralph Lauren also championed strong women throughout his advertising campaigns. Iconic faces such as Gisele, Jessica Chastain, and Penelope Cruz have all graced his ads with a sexy edge and strong voice. The masterful part of Lauren’s vision is that the celebrities never overshadowed the campaigns themselves. Rather, it has been the perfect marriage of voice and vision that has enabled the Ralph Lauren brand to stay relevant throughout its 50-year run.

As the concepts and opinions of sexuality constantly change, so too does the Ralph Lauren brand. What hasn’t changed is Lauren’s strong commitment to celebrating sexuality through barrier-breaking ad campaigns. For over 50 years, Ralph Lauren has delivered some of the edgiest and most iconic images fashion has ever seen, and he never felt the need to follow the typical sexual mold to achieve that feat.

Aspirational. Inspired. Trailblazing. Now that’s sexy.


Young Male Model in Ralph Lauren White Polo Ad Campaign

Black and White Ralph Lauren Romance Fragrance Ad Campaign

Ralph Lauren Women's Underwear Campaign-Heroic Photograph of Model in Bra and Briefs

Ralph Lauren Romance Fragrance Ad Campaign Shot in Black and White Featuring Model Tonga

Ralph Lauren Men's Underwear Ad Campaign Featuring Supermodel Tyson

Penelope Cruz in Ralph Lauren Ad

jessica-chastain in ralph-lauren ad

Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Underwear Ad Campaign Featuring Model Doug Porter shot by Richard Phibbs

Ralph by Ralph Lauren Ad

Ralph Lauren Romance Women's Fragrance Ad Campaign

gisele-ralph-lauren-polo jeans ad campaign

Ralph Lauren Black and White Moody Ad Campaign

Ralph Lauren Sunglasses-Eyewear Campaign

Photograph of Ralph Lauren as a handsome young man aboard a yacht