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The NYT's Cathy Horyn reviews two recently released books about Ralph LaurenGenuine Authentic (HarperCollins), by Michael Gross, and Ralph Lauren: The Man, the Vision, the Style (Rizzoli), by Colin McDowell. McDowell's book, a not-so-sophisticated exercise in literary brownnosing, portrays Lauren as a Bronx-born Horatio Algier who "mesmerizes the American public." (I don't recall ever being mesmerized by a Polo shirt, but I'm not saying it can't happen.) Gross's book is much less flattering. The Ralph Lauren portrayed in Genuine Authentic is a cranky narcissist followed by hordes of "Poloroids" who exacerbate his moodiness by failing to sufficiently praise him. Both books evoke an image of Lauren as Jay Gatsby. For McDowell, it's the glamorous, charming, and charismatic Gatsby. For Gross, it's the delusional, asocial, and reckless Gatsby.
Chasing the threads in the life of Ralph Lauren [NYT]