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An Oscar Party

Fashion News
Oscar de la Renta prior to his fashion show at the Sur Futuro luncheon.

By Tali Jaffe

Miami’s most fashionable ladies came out on Friday in support of the Sur Futuro foundation, and to honor a very special guest, Oscar de la Renta. The cause is one very dear to Mr. de la Renta as it benefits his home country, the Dominican Republic.

Following the benefit fashion show luncheon, Mr. de la Renta (and a flock of well-heeled women) headed to Bal Harbour Shops for an intimate gathering at his boutique where the designer previewed his pre-Fall collection. Don't miss our exclusive video from the fashion show and Oscar de la Renta's special appearance at Bal Harbour Shops.

We caught up with the designer to discuss his impressive career that spans more than four decades and how he became a “New York designer.”

If you had to describe the Oscar de la Renta woman in one word, what would it be?

Are you still tickled when you see someone wearing one of your looks?
Absolutely. As a designer, it’s the highest compliment you can receive. Unfortunately, I have the memory of a mosquito, so I don’t always recognize my work!

Who would you love to dress that you haven’t yet?
I want to dress every woman who buys my clothes.

You launched your ready-to-wear line in the U.S. in 1965 with an eye toward haute couture. Why did you choose to move back to the U.S. to open your fashion house?
I was living in Paris and a few of my friends from other houses were coming back from New York where the opportunities seemed endless.

It had been 11 years since I had been back home to the Dominican Republic, so I decided to go home and stop off in New York to see if I could get a job. I wrote to a man named Count Lanfranco Rasponi, who did PR for Elizabeth Arden. Miss Arden had an opening for a designer to work on her custom-made collection.

For the next two and a half years I worked at Elizabeth Arden in New York, and soon after in 1965, I started my own label.

You began your affair with fashion as a teenager while studying painting in Spain. Are you still drawn to the fine arts?
Absolutely. I went to Madrid to learn how to paint. While I was there I started doing fashion sketches for newspapers, magazines and then eventually the house of Balenciaga, which was my first job in a design studio. I still love to sketch, and I have a tremendous appreciation for painting.

What has been the most memorable museum show you’ve attended lately?
I think that the Alexander McQueen exhibit currently at the Met is a spectacular tribute to the work of an artist.

Having launched accessories, fragrance, bridal and home collections, what’s next for Oscar de la Renta?
I am constantly looking forward, sometimes you have to look back to look forward, but it’s important to keep your eyes open. I think that my best work lies ahead of me.

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