PaperCity Magazine

October 2017- Houston

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Page 29 of 147

BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE MFAH'S OSCAR DE LA RENTA T here are fashion designers, and then there are couturiers whose career and infl uence fan across decades and inspire generations. Oscar de la Renta was the latter. In the post- war era, he upheld the platinum standard for what an American designer could aspire to be: impeccable, classic, elegant, and, throughout a career that exceeded half a century, intensely relevant. From Manhattan to Texas, he dressed many a ball chairman and their court, from the Met Costume Institute Gala to the MFAH Grand Gala Ball, as well as a litany of Hollywood royals on Oscar night — for it was Oscar who ruled the hours of the evening. And then there were his beautiful dresses and suits for daytime, which appeared at luncheons of substance and ceremony. The blockbuster exhibition "The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta" at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is curated by the late designer's friend — and well-versed fashion insider — André Leon Talley (who will attend opening night and several other functions) and MFAH curator of decorative arts, craft, and design Cindi Strauss. The exhibition brings forth nearly 70 creations, from American sportswear to demure luncheon ensembles and entrance-making ball gowns, garnered from the fashion house and the designer's personal archives, the archives of Balmain, private lenders, and the fashion troves of the MFAH. The exhibition offers a grand arch of a half-century of OdlR, from the Dominican Republic-born designer's beginnings in Madrid with couturier Balenciaga to the launch of his label in 1965 and his days at Balmain, where he was the fi rst American designer to head a French couture house (1992-2002). The heir apparent and multi-talented designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, who also design the Monse collection, took over as lead designers a year ago, although both had worked with Mr. de la Renta for many years priors and have garnered high praise. (See more on Kim and Garcia on page 30; the designers will also attend opening night.) The MFAH makes the case for de la Renta as a museum-level master, even mounting the gowns, cocktail dresses, and frocks alongside paintings and decorative arts culled from its permanent collection. This is the third of a series of OdlR tribute exhibitions curated by Talley — others were at San Francisco's de Young in 2016 and the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2015 — and marks perhaps our fi nal chance to see this master's talent through the eyes of one who knew him well. "The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta," October 8 – January 28, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, BLOCKBUSTER EXHIBITION. CATHERINE D. ANSPON REPORTS. Oscar de la Renta at the fi nale of his Spring 1996 fashion show Caftan of hand-painted silk crepe de chine, Summer 1982 House sketch of day ensemble, dress and jacket, Oscar de la Renta for Jane Derby, Fall 1966 Oscar de la Renta coat and dress ensemble, Fall 1968 Oscar de la Renta and André Leon Talley, 1978 Lynn Wyatt in an Oscar de la Renta evening dress from Resort 2010 Collection CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY OSCAR DE LA RENTA, LLC; COURTESY OSCAR DE LA RENTA, LLC; OSCAR DE LA RENTA, 2016, ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN HARPER'S BAZAAR, OCTOBER 2011; OSCAR DE LA RENTA, 2016; COURTESY MFAH COLLECTION; COURTESY OSCAR DE LA RENTA ARCHIVE.

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