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Oscar Style

Culture Watch
Oscar de la Renta, silk evening gown, Resort 2013, Ready-to-Wear. Worn by Beyonce, Vogue Cover, March 2013. Loan: Oscar de la Renta Archive, New York City. Photo courtesy of SCAD.

Though the house of Oscar de la Renta was a focal point during New York Fashion Week, the late designer’s work takes center stage at another venue far from New York City. De la Renta’s legacy of exceptional gowns is the subject of “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style,” at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

Curated by Vogue contributing editor André Leon Talley, over 70 garments will be on view through May 3, including the jaw-dropping red silk gown worn by Beyoncé for her March 2013 Vogue cover and dresses worn by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Taylor Swift.

SCAD Museum of Art’s exhibition is the first to celebrate the emperor of elegance and his work since the designer’s passing in October 2014. Talley says, "With Oscar de la Renta, you always felt life was lived in the sun. He loved his family and filled life with beauty from his gardens, his collections, paintings and music. He loved to sing."

Oscar de la Renta left the Dominican Republic at the age of 18 to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. While in Spain, he began sketching for leading fashion houses, leading to an apprenticeship with Spain’s most esteemed couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Following his post at Balenciaga, de la Renta joined the house of Lanvin as couture assistant to Antonio Castillo, in Paris.

In 1963, Oscar de la Renta made his way to New York, where he designed the couture collection for Elizabeth Arden. Two years later, he debuted his signature ready-to-wear label. Today, the company bearing his namesake produces a bridal collection, a beauty line, a home collection, childrenswear and a whole host of accessories.

Oscar de la Renta served as the president of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) twice and was the recipient of the council’s Womenswear Designers of the Year, Lifetime Achievement and Founders awards. The designer breathed beauty, style and glamour into every piece he created. De la Renta's particular brand of unmatched elegance lives on through the couturier's masterful works, and the women lucky enough to wear them.

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