vintage polo sport View Sandy Tarlow’s Memoriam
Sandy Carlson Tarlow, an advertising executive who was responsible for defining the public face of Polo Ralph Lauren for almost a quarter century, died Tuesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 59.
The cause was lung cancer, said her husband, Richard Tarlow. Mrs. Tarlow had been ill for four months. Until the onset of her illness, she remained at the helm of Carlson Partners, the agency that she and her husband founded in 1987.
For 23 years, Mrs. Tarlow handled the account of Ralph Lauren, one of the most visible and successful American clothing companies during that period. Lauren ‘ s clothes initially defined the look of upper class young men, with the casual but rarefied aura of the brand abetted by the images conjured up by Mrs. Tarlow and her colleagues.
Mrs. Tarlow worked with Lauren on shaping the marketing and image of his company, often meeting with him two or three times a week to review the direction of the campaigns.
As her husband put it: ” Ralph Lauren was the other man in her life. ”
Mrs. Tarlow ‘ s oversight of advertising for Lauren made her one of the most prominent women in advertising.
Sandy Carlson Tarlow was born in Shrewsbury, Mass.
After graduation, Sandy Carlson moved to New York City to break into advertising. She found work at an agency called Martin Landey, Arlow. But she soon moved to Hawaii for six months.
Before leaving on her trip, Carlson met Tarlow, who was working as an advertising salesman at the agency. He had just returned from living in Spain, and she was working at the time as an assistant art director.
Richard Tarlow left that agency and founded Kurtz Tarlow, where Sandy Carlson Tarlow worked as a partner and creative director. It was there that she acquired the Ralph Lauren account.
Mrs. Tarlow nurtured the account for a decade and eventually came to handle the print and broadcast advertising for the company ‘ s clothing, home furniture and fragrance divisions. By the late 1980s, the value of the account was estimated at $10 million.
Mrs. Tarlow continued to handle the account even after the agency was bought by another advertising company. But she and her husband eventually decided to start their own agency, with Ralph Lauren as the main client. In working on advertising for Ralph Lauren, Mrs. Tarlow often collaborated with Bruce Weber, the prominent photographer who shot many of the images used in Ralph Lauren ads. Her agency also did advertising for the Neutrogena line of skin care products made by Johnson Johnson.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Tarlow is survived by her son, Cody, a student at the University of California Santa Cruz; sister, Jamie Anderson of Westwood, Mass.; brothers, Storm and Bob Carlson, both in Costa Rica; and mother, Veronica Carlson, of Shrewsbury.