Designer Ralph Lauren's parents were natives of Belarus in the former Soviet Union. They came to this country with nothing more than the ever-so-fashionable clothes on their backs.
He knew the "Russia, mixed with Jewishness" of his parents only through the meld of Russian, Polish and Yiddish they spoke when they didn't want their children to understand them. And through their artefacts: the European furnishings that impregnated his taste and the sepia photographs of his 16-year-old parents' wedding. ("I remember especially my father's suit," Lauren says.)
Then there was his mother's Persian lamb hat that inspired a Russian-themed show - Cossack tunics, greatcoats and Bolshevik tweeds - back in 1993. [Link]