Sophisticated. Powerful. Feminine. Above all, glamorous. When a woman dons an Oscar de la Renta creation, she exudes worldliness and elegance. There is a reason his clothes were embraced by First Ladies, society matrons, and millennial supermodels alike: de la Renta's designs made women feel confident.
The Dominican-born designer truly loved helping women look and feel lovely in their own skin. He told Vogue, “Any girl from any walk of life dreams of that special dress, and I try to make that dream a reality for her.” Though he is celebrated for his high-voltage glamour – ruffles, sequins, lace, and embroidery – his tailored suits and billowing caftans are equally stylish. The designer is truly a sum of his parts; his clothes reflect a youth spent in Santo Domingo, an infatuation with Spanish culture, respect for Parisian haute couture, and the chic simplicity of American fashion.
The design community was bereft when de la Renta passed away from cancer in 2014, leaving behind a legacy of over fifty years in the industry. Now, fashion aficionados can celebrate the designer and follow his journey from the Caribbean to New York’s Seventh Avenue at the de Young Museum’s Oscar de la Renta retrospective, curated by former Vogue editor André Leon Talley. The FIDM Museum was proud to lend objects to this comprehensive exhibition (in case you missed it, you can read Curator Kevin Jones’ account of installing the pieces in San Francisco!). The exhibition is divided into sections that reflect de la Renta’s great loves and design influences – from his grand gardens to his fascination with other cultures. The FIDM Museum's ensembles appear in three separate rooms of the exhibition; they are snapshots of his long and robust career.
Evening Gown, Oscar de la Renta
Gift of Mrs. Clarissa Dyer