Earlier this morning, I had the pleasure of attending the press event for Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective exhibition at the de Young museum in San Francisco. When I got there, let’s just say I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw when she was rummaging through her closet in the first Sex and the City movie (or in the wedding dress scene of the same movie) and appreciated every de la Renta piece that I saw there.
If you are able to recognize de la Renta on the red carpet, but don’t know a lot about the late designer and how and why certain things influenced his work, do make your way to the de Young museum to check it out (exhibit opens March 12).
Walking through this world premiere exhibition of de la Renta’s work is truly an experience one should partake in. It includes more than 130 pieces produced over five decades and is divided into sections: his early work, including Spanish, Eastern and Russian influences; day-wear and evening-wear influenced by gardens; and ball gowns and red carpet gowns.
During this press event, I listened to a Q&A with former American Vogue editor at large, André Leon Talley, who was a close friend of de la Renta’s over the years.
Here are a few things I learned about Oscar de la Renta while walking through the exhibition:
- De la Renta was born in the Dominican Reublic in 1932 and after training in Spain at Balenciaga and working for Lanvin-Castillo in Paris, he moved to the United States to work for Elizabeth Arden.
- De la Renta took part in a fashion show that pitted American designers against their French counterparts and his show, different than what most had seen until that time, granted de la Renta a standing ovation. Side note: he played Barry White’s “Love’s Theme” as the runway song.
- De la Renta’s designs reflect his dedication to making every woman “feel wonderful about herself” at any shape and size.
- He drew influence from European history (18th century France), the Golden Age of Spain, Chinese embroideries, Indian textiles, Japanese woodblock prints, traditional Russian fabrics and more.
- De la Renta was an avid gardener in both his Dominican Republic and Conneticut homes leading to him to have botanical themes in his work, including: floral-printed silk taffetas, appliquéd flowers and soft ruffles.
Who knows when this exhibition will make its way back around to San Francisco again, so if you have the time to see it, do.
If You Go:
When: March 12 – May 30, Tuesday through Friday, times vary
Where: de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr in San Francisco
Cost: Prices vary (click here) $30–$50
Do let me know if you end up attending the show and tell me how you like it!