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Have luxury powerhouses Prada and Ralph Lauren reached institutional lifestyle brand status?

Both listed companies, yet still run by the founding families, Ralph Lauren and Prada are nowadays two of the world’s biggest powerhouses in luxury, which have moved beyond an apparel label and ascended to the status of an institutional lifestyle brand. Each house has been religiously preserving its national identity which is part of their DNA, for Prada Italy and for Ralph Lauren, the US. The Laurens, much like the Bertellis maintain full control over their companies, from creative direction, design, production, distribution and marketing.

But probably the most important similarity that both companies share is the strength of the brand each created. In an interview, David Lauren, who is responsible for the Ralph Lauren brand identity said ”What makes something Ralph Lauren is both defined and indefinable. It is the biggest mystery, with the clearest message”,  adding ”We always say that it is never about a single shirt, or a pair of pants, or a suit, or a gown. It is about an attitude and a spirit.”. He also proudly remarks that although only 40 years old, the Ralph Lauren brand seems to have been around forever and the biggest achievement of his company is the use of the name as an adjective – people today saying ”That’s so Ralph Lauren”.