NEW YORK — When Ralph Lauren sat down for a little chat Monday night with Oprah Winfrey, they picked up a discussion they started on TV back in the spring, when the fashion designer helped close out Winfrey's long-running talk show with an exclusive peek inside his Colorado estate.
But this time, their talk about Lauren's life, career and commitment to cancer causes was at Lincoln Center in front of a sold-out crowd of arts patrons and a celebrity guest list that included Michael J. Fox, NBC News anchorman Brian Williams, Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Wintour, Martha Stewart and Naomi Watts.
The conversation raised more than $7 million for Lauren's cancer care center in East Harlem along with the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
In a pre-show interview, Lauren said he wanted to do this because he believes in the causes.
"I've been doing what I'm doing a long time, and I'm here to give back what I can," he said.
He said he can't remember the first time he met Winfrey but spent a long time with her when she first launched her magazine – and that formed a connection.
"I once found myself talking to Oprah in my car for an hour," he said. "Whenever I see her it's like I just saw her. That's a real connection."
But Winfrey, who wore a red portrait collar gown, told the audience it took 25 years for her to get the interview with Lauren at his Colorado ranch.
She said Lauren "designed the fabric of America the way we know it."
Monday's multimedia presentation was produced by Tony Award winner Darren Bagert. It ended with a fashion show of Lauren's spring collection.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg had declared Monday as The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention Day.
Samantha Critchell tweets fashion at http://twitter.com/ap_fashion