Guest list:Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Camilla Belle, Mehmet Oz, Gayle King, Jessica Alba, Kerry Washington, Martha Stewart, Michael J. Fox, Naomi Watts, Andy Cohen, Tory Burch and Veronica Webb.
What: A multimedia onstage conversation preceded by a reception and followed by a gala dinner to jointly benefit The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Designs on philanthropy: "I've always wanted to give back," Lauren said. "There were times when I had nothing to give. As a company, we are working very hard to do our job and do our share. … We are conscious of philanthropy, and we are doing it for the right reasons, not for show."
On interviewer Winfrey: "Who else could I have interview me? She's the best interviewer in the world," the notoriously private Lauren said.
About that designer: The former talk-show host interviewed Lauren in her last season. "It took me 25 years to score an interview with Ralph Lauren," Winfrey, wearing a bright red dress with sweetheart neckline, said onstage at the start of the conversation.
Dream interview subject: "I've gotten to know a lot of people," Lauren said. "And sometimes it's been best not to know them, and sometimes it's wonderful to know them. There are people when I grew up that I didn't know like Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and John Kennedy, and … I think I would have liked to have spoken to them."
Inspirational figure: "Frank Sinatra, but not for the obvious reasons," Lauren noted before the show. "Not because he was a big celebrity, but because when he was down and out, I saw him pick himself up. … I admire people that have stayed the course and who have stayed true to themselves."
Any surprises? Nothing shocking will be revealed in the chat, Lauren said ahead of time. "I would like to sing, but I couldn't sing well enough," he joked.
Seeking perfection: Lauren talked about how nobody's perfect. But he did turn the tables around by asking, "Although maybe you are, Oprah?" "Oh, no, I am not," Winfrey said, shaking her head. The audience broke out in laughter.
Master of reinvention: When asked how he reinvents himself, "You copy!" said Lauren, who generated more laughter in the room. "I've had 45 years of copying," he added. "That's how I made it."
Mission accomplished? Winfrey asked the designer if there was a moment "when you said, 'Hey I made it?'" Lauren admitted, "I don't think I've ever said it, and I don't think I ever will." After the conversation was over, the show concluded with a presentation of Lauren's spring 2012 collection.
Audience appreciation: "I'm an official New Yorker now," actress Watts said before the event. "I come to the Lincoln Center a lot to see what great things they are celebrating, and they are entering into the world of fashion now. To hear a fashion icon talk with another icon," she explained, is an invite you can't turn down. Fellow actress Alba also praised Lauren. "I'm a huge fan of Ralph Lauren. I always have been. It's a classic iconic American brand."
Watts on film: The actress will be seen in the Leonardo DiCaprio film J. Edgar (out Nov. 9). "He's a fascinating character played by a brilliant actor," Watts said. "Leo is incredible. It's an incredible story that I didn't know much about, not having grown up with American history."
On staying sane:J. Edgar promotional appearances start next week. "You don't," said Watts. "It's completely abnormal. It's an assault to the nervous system. It's my least favorite part of the job, but it is my job, so I don't want to sound like I'm complaining."
Halloween with the kids: Watts and actor Liev Schreiber have two sons: Alexander, 4, and Samuel 2. "They've got a few ideas for costumes," Watts said. "We've got some we might repeat. They're very into it this year. We've got kings. We've got dragons. We've got turtles. We've got policemen. They're all over the place." Alba's oldest child is leaning a different way. "My daughter is going to be a Bubble Guppy," said the actress of daughter Honor, 3, who is fond of the Nick Jr. characters. "I had to make her costume."
The mom workout: Since giving birth to daughter Haven in August, Alba says she has had no diet routine. Her post-baby-bump body is due to "just running after my 3-year-old."
Upcoming project: Actress Washington was on her way to dinner when she talked about starring in Shonda Rhimes' new midseason TV show, Scandal. "I didn't really make a decision to go to TV," she said. "What happened was I read a script that was the best script I had read in a really long time, and it happened to be for Shonda Rhimes' new show. And I was like, 'Oh, my God, I guess I'm going to try out for TV.'"
New challenge: "It's been really fun for me because it's such a new medium: I really had to learn a lot," Washington explained. "You have a different director every week and a new script every week. Just coming from my Broadway debut with David Mamet, (TV) is sort of like the things I love most about theater and film because you're working on-camera and you're working on the same character. But every day is different; every day is its own story."
Post-show analysis: "I get so excited when (Lauren) talks about being a kid from the Bronx, because I am a kid from the Bronx and my mom is a kid from the Bronx," Washington said. "He talks about his willingness to rise to the top and face adversity. When he talks about what's possible in this country, it really resonates with me and inspires me."
Please login to add to favorites
Already added to favorites
Added as Favorite