Fashion Tribe

Oscar de la Renta at DeYoung

April 23rd, 2016

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Oscar de la Renta's 2000-01 Spanish-influenced designs were the focal point of one of the tableau in a retrospective of his work at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. The exhibition continues through May 30.

"Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective" on view at the de Young Museum of Fine Arts in San Fransisco, celebrates the work of the designer who was born in the Dominican Republic, trained in Spain, and made his career in the United States, until his death on Oct. 20, 2014, at the age of 82.

The world premiere exhibition, curated by André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, includes 120 ensembles, curated from the best museums in the United States, and his friends, family and clients.

The designer was born Oscar Arístides Renta Fiallo in the Dominican Republic and trained with Spanish designers Cristóbal Balenciaga and Lanvin designer Antonio del Castillo.

After moving to the United States to create ready-to-wear fashion in the early 1960s, he made his name as by dressing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. In addition to designing for his own eponymous brand, he designed the haute couture collection for Balmain between 1993 and 2002.

The exhibition covers five decades of de la Renta fashion, but instead of being organized chronologically, it is organized by themes, showing how Spanish influences in his life were consistently reflected in his work. Other galleries reflect a fascination with Asia, a love of gardens, and his popularity with New York society, celebrities and heads of state over decades. He dressed everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Liza Minnelli to Rihanna and Taylor Swift, and the show closes with some of his red carpet creations.

Beyond fashion, a video gallery screens mini docs about the designer, including his desire to give back to his home country, by opening schools and orphanages to help disadvantaged children.
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Tickets for the Oscar de la Renta exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco start at $30 per person, including general admission. Discounts available for seniors, students and youth. Free for ages 5 and younger. Premium tickets are also available. The museum is in Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. Open 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, through May 30.

Some of my favorite pieces in the Spanish section were those the designer created for Balmain. This summer dance dress and bolero were worn by De la Renta's wife Annette. It comprises silk, jet beads, passementerie and raffia.

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This spring 2005 flounced lace evening dress was designed especially for Annette and was the designer's favorite, comprising black tulle and black silk taffeta applique.

De la Renta enjoyed gardening and that was the theme of a Vogue photo shoot by Peter Lindbergh, published in October 1997. These mannequins in floral silk Balmain gowns were arranged to recreate one of the images.

Acknowledging the rise of the Asian model that coincided with China's and Korea's growing economic power, Vogue reimagined a 1948 Cecil Beaton photograph, with eight Asian models wearing Oscar de la Renta Spring 2011 ballgowns. The new photo was shot by Steven Meisel. This detail of the photo is displayed on a video screen, with mannequins in the dresses posed in similar fashion.

Detail of jeweled tassels gracing a jacket and skirt ensemble from one of de la Renta's Asia-inspired collections.

This 1998-99 Oscar de la Renta for Pierre Balmain evening dress is of green silk tafetta with beads, sequins and metallic thread embroidery. It was juxtaposed with Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky's 1884 painting, "Preparing for the Wedding."

More Spanish ruffles.

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