Nov 5, 2014
Everyone has a theory about style—in fashion and hairdos, in the arts, in one’s manner with others and in one’s approach to life.
In fashion, style connotes a particular way of dressing. Originally, stylus was an instrument for writing. Styles in fashion come and go and change with the season: the unisex, the gothic, the hippie and the preppie, the androgynous “non-obvious girl,” the “anything goes” style.
Oscar de la Renta, the couturier who died on October 20th, was famous not just for his style but for the beauty of his style. He designed dresses for Presidents’ wives, socialites, and celebrities—all well-connected women. With other couturiers like Hubert de Givenchy and Oleg Cassini, Oscar de la Renta designed elegant fashions not simply for elegant women but also for women who wished to look elegant. He made them glow from within and feel beautiful. His signature fabric was tulle netting made from silk or satin, his colors, vibrant. In 1980, The New York Times Magazine offered a possible motto for the couturier: ‘living well is still the best revenge.’
In the October 23rd issue of the New York Times, the following was written of Mr. de la Renta: “He believed in hard work and the importance of appearance. He believed in beauty, not for beauty’s sake, but because he understood that elevating the outside could help elevate the inside; that confidence could be donned with a garment” (Vanessa Friedman, “The Rewards of Patience”).