the hostess gown.
one of my favorite places in london (flying tonight!), the connaught bar.
When Oscar came to new york in the early 1960’s his first job was working for Elizabeth Arden. At the time, Ms. Arden was already very famous, and well into her eighties. The first time Oscar was invited to her house for dinner he noticed she wore a sort of ragged looking hostess gown. from the 1930’s to the seventies women wore these sort of long, loose dresses to entertain in their homes. (As an aside, of course! how perfect.) As Oscar and Ms. Arden became closer, he was invited to more dinners, and every time she wore the same hostess gown that according to Oscar was positively beat up. He decided to surprise her by making her a new one. He labored over it, copying the pattern of the one she loved, ordering beautiful laces from italy, etc etc. And she absolutely loved it. But the next time Oscar came for dinner she was wearing her old one. and the time after that. and so finally Oscar, ever brave, asked Ms. Arden why she never wore the gown that he made for her. She told him she was saving it for a special occasion. Oscar left Elizabeth Arden to start his own label in 1965, and shortly after, Ms. Arden passed away. Her funeral was the first with an open casket that Oscar had ever attended. He was nervous going up to say goodbye and when he did his eyes filled up with tears, because there it was, the gown he made for her. his labor of love, her special occasion. and who wouldn’t want to wear Oscar de la Renta for eternity?
when i first met annabel tollman, I was a baby, and she was a queen. my god she was stunning. really, really beautiful. but not just that. she was smart, vivacious, and glamorous beyond explanation. she was brave, and funny, and i was so in awe. over the years we became friends, though I don’t believe I ever lost the wide-eyed look of admiration i had for annabel from the first day.
annabel, if you did not know how much I adored you, i am willing to write it over and over again. every bikram will remind me of you. i promise to go more often. please tell me there are corsets in heaven. e
Watteau: a section at the back of a woman’s dress that is caught in pleats or gathers at the neck and falls unbelted to the floor.
one of my favorite images of all time. Amber Valletta in Oscar de la Renta, Vogue 2006.
click through to see the best of Oscar compiled by Vogue from their archives.
Oscar de la Renta served as President of the CFDA from 1973 to 1976 and from 1986 to 1988. He received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990, the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000 & 2007 and tonight he will receive the Founder’s Award.
Carolyn Murphy wearing Oscar de la Renta for the CFDA journal.
Shot by Peter Lindbergh.
excuse me while I do some chores wearing this Oscar dress in venice. from Vogue, 1990.
Oscar de la Renta Resort 2014