André Leon Talley honors late designer Oscar de la Renta in SCAD exhibit
Famed fashion icon André Leon Talley has already curated various exhibitions at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), so choosing him to honor the work of his personal friend, the late fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, was a natural decision.
Talley’s personal friendship with de la Renta made the project an emotional and challenging one, as he sought to create more than a simple retrospective of the designer’s work. Rather, Talley hoped to create an exhibit that would showcase de la Renta’s fashion craftsmanship while simultaneously telling a deeper story about how de la Renta’s designs and his influence as a designer left an impression on all those with whom he knew and worked.
The exhibit, “Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style,” features 50 stunning and original looks. From dresses worn by Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton on the pages of Vogue to Met Gala gowns worn by Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey, Talley compiled a collection of some of de la Renta’s most memorable looks from major events and fashion spreads alike.
The most significant looks in the collection, however, are essential to the exhibit not because of their design, but because of their history. Several women from de la Renta’s life contributed personal garments to be showcased in the exhibit. The wedding gown worn by de la Renta’s step-daughter, the coat and jacket worn by his wife to her daughter’s wedding, the coat worn by former First Lady Laura Bush to the 2005 Presidential Inauguration — these are just a few of the pieces that have come together in Savannah to celebrate de la Renta’s legacy as a designer. Meanwhile, the exhibit manages to highlight the personal essence of each piece for the woman to whom it belongs, and to tell the story of de la Renta’s career through his work on an emotional level that allows it connect with all audiences.
“Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style” is open now through May 3 at SCAD Museum of Art.
Why do you think it’s important for André Leon Talley’s exhibit to celebrate Oscar de la Renta’s work on an emotional level in addition to a design level? Do you think that showcasing the emotional and historical significance of each piece can impact how the public connects with the late designer’s work, legacy, and brand? Share your thoughts below or tweet me @tamarahoumi