By SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
Presented by the Savannah College of Art and Design
Visit SCAD FASH with SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace (2016) by Savannah College of Art and DesignSCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
SCAD FASH proudly presents the exhibition “Oscar de la Renta” celebrating the illustrious life and designs of the storied American couturier whose work set the standard for timeless elegance. Known as "the sultan of chic," de la Renta dressed such Hollywood A-listers as Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman and Taylor Swift, as well as former first lady Laura Bush.
Oscar de la Renta’s story begins on July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic, where he grew up surrounded by his six older sisters, mother and grandmother. De la Renta’s mother, María Antonia, was an ardent supporter of her son’s artistic talents and encouraged him to pursue his desire to study painting in Spain. At the age of 18, he moved to Madrid to attend the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
Embroidered silk organza blouse and skirt by Oscar de la RentaSCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
As a student, de la Renta immersed himself in the culture of Spain and, to make extra money, took up fashion sketching. His talent and appreciation for fashion soon found him working for one of the greatest couturiers of all time, Cristobal Balenciaga. With his sights set on Paris, de la Renta requested a transfer to the designer's Parisian salon, but was denied. He decided to make the move on his own.
fell madly for Spain, its people, its landscape and life in Madrid. The
sights, sounds and drama of Spanish culture — bullfights, flamenco and
the most festive celebrations such as the traditional ferias of Seville
and fallas of Valencia — were burned forever in my imagination, defining
my own aesthetic.”
Oscar de la Renta
Robe de styleSCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
The First Collection
By 1965, de la Renta had his own label and, in 1967, his collection “The Road of Spices” earned him his first Coty Award, the prestigious recognition conferred upon designers for their significant contribution to fashion. This was only the beginning of de la Renta’s ascent as a designer. His remarkable legacy transcends even the fashion empire he built through the relationships he made.
Beyond his work as chairman of Oscar de la Renta LLC, he was a tireless patron of the arts. De la Renta served on the Board of Trustees for Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, New Yorkers for Children and the Americas Society. He was also a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Dominican Republic, where he served as ambassador-at-large.
Cashmere dress (1965/1966) by Oscar de la RentaSCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film
Dressing the First Ladies
Ten first ladies wore Oscar de la Renta designs during their time in the White House. His fashion transcended party lines. He built his career on the philosophy that all women want to be beautiful, and he brought out the singular beauty and character of each woman he designed for.
"In 1963, fashion was very different. There are many parallels as to what happened in American fashion and what happened for women in those years.”
Oscar de la Renta
"Ovation for Oscar" provides an intimate account of the making of a major museum exhibition honoring the designer, artist and cultural icon.
"Oscar de la Renta", presented by the Savannah College of Art and Design, was exhibited at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, Feb. 5 - May 3, 2015 and the inaugural exhibition at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion and Film in Atlanta, Georgia Oct. 3 – Dec. 31, 2015.
This momentous exhibition featured more than 60 garments, many designed exclusively for de la Renta’s closest friends and family. Known as "the sultan of chic," de la Renta dressed such Hollywood A-listers as Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman and Taylor Swift, as well as former first lady Laura Bush.
A monograph titled “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style” was published by Skira Rizzoli and included contributions by André Leon Talley, Paula Wallace, Anna Wintour, and Mercedes T. Bass. Images featured here and in the book were photographed by SCAD alumnus Adam Kuehl (B.F.A., photography, 2005, M.F.A., photography, 2014).
"Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style" is available for purchase at shopSCAD, shopscad.com, and amazon.com.