Dominican Contributions to High Fashion Go Unacknowledged

"We Shall Forever Wear Ralph Lauren Polo," El Poloche.

The clothing brand Polo, by world famous designer Ralph Lauren, is a long-renowned company most notably recognized by its logo of a Polo player on a horse. Who is the man on that horse? Better yet, why would you even think it's not just a generic embroidery of a Polo player? 

Well, that's because it isn't a generic embroidery; the man on that horse is none other than Porfirio Rubirosa, the last playboy, the same man who inspired Ralph Lauren to name his company Polo in 1968, three years after his death. This fact was never really made widely known or promoted to the Dominican people or in urban areas where the clothing would take on a different meaning, especially for the inner city youth, mainly because it wasn't meant for them to wear, even though the style came from one of us. 

Now, I don't care what Ralph Lauren tries to say after the fact. He knows who the man on that horse is, because as he has said himself, "no one in America knew what Polo was at that time." Not even Ralph Lauren himself knew what polo was; he was just a young kid in awe and inspired by the playboy Rubirosa.

Mr. Lauren had a childhood crush on Rita Hayworth, one of the many names on Rubi's long list of conquests. Rubi was known to spend a lot of money on his tailor-made suits, and there exist almost no photos where he isn't dressed immaculately dapper. Even his Polo outfits looked crisp and rich with numbers or flags, like the big Dominican flag on one his polo shirts. 
It really pisses me off that Ralph Lauren never puts Dominican flags on his clothing, seeing how he got the idea from a legendary Dominican., and I only say that because he is known to put the flags of different countries on his clothing. 

People can be so ungrateful... it doesn't matter though. Us Dominicans "shall wear Polo forever," not because of Ralph either, but because every time we see that little horse or big pony, we see an encapsulation of one of our own: the greatest playboy to ever live.

"I live my life as if this were the last quarter of an hour left to me," Porfirio Rubirosa"

Porfirio Rubirosa's role in inspiring Ralph Lauren has been mentioned in the Financial Times and MoneyWeek, but for some reason it slipped under the radar of the poor urban people who idolized this brand. I brought it to the attention of Dominican people on Twitter who love the brand, to people like myself who have been wearing Ralph Lauren clothing since a very young age. Little did we know that one of our legends was the central inspiration for what would become a timeless brand. As it should, with such a polarizing figure full of swagger as its emblem. 

I will never forget looking through photos of Rubirosa and stumbling upon this photo of him walking in his Polo gear. He had a sweater tied over his shoulders with a Polo stick, his hair slicked back. It was an old picture but he still appeared very well dressed. It looked like something Ralph would sell today. It's like his spirit came to me, like Rubi was trying to tell me something, and I downloaded a thought out of thin air, like the don told me himself. I thought: "I wonder if Ralph Lauren was inspired by the last playboy..." And sure enough, when I went searching, I found the evidence. It felt metaphorically like pulling Excalibur out of the stone.

“I have always cared about clothes, and I will go to any length to look good,” Sammy Davis Jr. confessed. “But the way Rubirosa dressed made me feel as if I’d fallen off the garbage truck.”

Growing up, I didn't have too many Dominican heroes to look up to, yet here I was standing on the shoulders of this giant, one who many allege inspired the infamous playboy spy James Bond; Rubi was a real, live Tiguere, a man who many older Dominicans tried to keep hidden for his playboy nature and affiliation to Trujillo. 

Me, personally, I don't care what they say. If Ralph can become a billionaire thanks to Rubi's inspiration, then the sky is the limit for me. I'm the heir to the playboy throne and I think Rubi wanted this to be known by his people, a people who have a peculiar love for the word "poloché," which is Dominican slang used to refer to any Polo shirt. 

Rubi would've wanted this known because he was working on his fragrance and other ideas to try and brand himself. Now he's probably looking down from heaven at Ralph like an ungrateful opportunist for never honoring him with a collection or by putting Dominican flags on his clothing.
When we see the Ralph Lauren horse, we smile and think of the greatest playboy that ever lived. I'm proud Rubi chose me to bring this to the Dominican people. I feel like the spiritual son the playboy never had, and this just goes to show you that "Legends Never Die..."

By: El Conde

"I had so much to tell that everyone searching envied my behavior and penchant for fun.. and after the life I knew in Paris, I found a certain pleasure in scandalizing that closed society," Rubi. 

"Tenia tanto que contar que todos le buscaban envidiaban mi libertad de comportamiento y diversión... y yo después de la existencia fácil que conocí en París, encontraba cierto placer en escandalizar esa sociedad cerrada..."