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Happy Birthday, Ralph Lauren!

The legendary designer turns 74 on Monday. To celebrate, a look back through the years.

Mikhail Metzel/AFP via Getty

Mikhail Metzel/AFP via Getty

Ralph Lauren is an American classic -- an iconic designer who has spent more than 40 years carving out his own unique point of view in the fashion world. Born Ralph Lifshitz in the Bronx on October 14, 1939, he began his career in a sales job at Brooks Brother. Soon, he began to design neckties, which Neiman Marcus liked and bought in the dozens. He then made men’s neckties under the famous name “Polo” and sold them at Bloomingdale’s, where he got his own first in-store boutique. Soon after, he launched his own menswear line, which was a mix between a preppy and cowboy aesthetic. After he won the COTY award for his designs in 1970, he started a women’s line made with men’s style suits. His iconic Polo logo was first introduced in a collection of short-sleeved cotton shirts in 24 colors. Now, the Ralph Lauren brand includes the luxury line Ralph Lauren Purple, Ralph Lauren Black, Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, as well as a home decoration selection, Ralph Lauren Home. The brand extends from sportswear to fragrances, from denim to even paint. Lauren has been married to his wife, Ricky, for 49 years, and they have three children: Andrew, Dylan, and David. To celebrate the designer's 74th birthday on Monday, a look at his best career moments.

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A 31-year-old Lauren dances at a photo shoot on January 1, 1970 wearing a printed tie, checkered vest, and striped shirt.  The same year, he received the COTY Award for his menswear collection, and soon after launched his womenswear line.

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Ralph and his wife, Ricky, laugh outside their East Hampton home in 1977, epitomizing the designer's long-time obsession with an equestrian and country style that has influenced many of his collections.

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Ralph Lauren and wife Ricky attend the CFDA awards on January 12, 1987 at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where Ralph received a special award.

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Lauren poses with Audrey Hepburn at the Casita Maria Fiesta Benefit on October 27, 1992, the year before her death.


Always in good company, Lauren attended the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research fundraiser on September 24, 1996 in Washington, DC alongside Princess Diana of Wales, then-Washington Post owner Katharine Graham, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and former Georgetown University President Leo J. O’Donovan.

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Sporting his signature denim shirt, Ralph Lauren ends his Fall 1997 show on March 24 with a round of applause from the audience.

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Lauren, clad in an all-black ensemble and brown leather jacket, is seen at the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards at Radio City Music Hall on October 15, 2002 with his wife and son, Andrew.

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Lauren, accompanied by Donna Karan and model Carolyn Murphy, shakes hands with former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani during a fashion designer press conference on October 23, 2001 that celebratied the launch of the “Shop For America” campaign created by the CFDA.

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In a tailored black and white tuxedo, Ralph Lauren arrives at the New York Public Library on June 7 for the 2004 CFDA Fashion Awards.

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Following his Spring 2005 show in New York, Ralph Lauren takes his runway bow in an elegant gray suit.

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At the 2007 CFDA Fashion Awards on March 12, Lauren poses with the Diane von Furstenberg, CFDA executive director Steven Kolb, and designer Michael Kors during the announcement of the nominees and honorees.

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Lauren hangs with television host Oprah Winfrey during the 25th anniversary of the CFDA Fashion Awards on June 4, 2007. Later in 2011, Winfrey highlighted Lauren in a long interview entitled, American Icon Ralph Lauren and His Fascinating Family.

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The designer walks the runway after his Spring/Summer 2011 show wearing an equestrian ensemble with leather brown pants and a white shirt.

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It's a family affair! Oprah Winfrey hosted an event at Lincoln Center on October 24, 2011 called “An Evening With Ralph Lauren,” celebrating the designer's career. Surrounding the designer are his daughter Dylan, founder of Dylan’s Candy Bar, his wife Ricky, his oldest son Andrew (right), a film producer and actor, and David (left), the Senior Vice President of Polo by Ralph Lauren.

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One of Lauren’s runway customs is to kiss his wife Ricky and shake hands with his front row guests. Refusing to break tradition, Ralph gives his wife a smooch after his Spring 2013 runway show on September 13, 2012.

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On October 8, 2013 Lauren organized a dinner and runway show to celebrate his sponsorship of the Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts School in Paris.