The United States Postal Service officially unveiled its Oscar de la Renta Commemorative Forever Stamp today with a dedication ceremony held in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. Hillary Clinton, Anna Wintour and Michael Bloomberg — all longtime friends of the brand — each spoke, sharing memories of the late designer.
“When I heard that I was going to be speaking between the chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta and Anna Wintour, my first thought obviously was, What should I wear?” Bloomberg said. “I had this conundrum; I had to decide between one of my normal cutting edge business suits — dark blue or darker blue. In the end, I decided that I would wear what I’m gonna wear on my way to Aspen this afternoon. Oscar would certainly understand that.”
Bloomberg shared that de la Renta had taught him “how to make my Spanish sound more Dominican” and recalled when the designer supported his three mayoral runs. He also threw in a little dig at President Trump.
“[De la Renta’s] story is so inspiring and I hope that these stamps do inspire other people to learn from him, look at the life he led and use that as a model,” Bloomberg said. “I also hope that they remind people of the extraordinary contributions that immigrants make to our city, to our country every single day.”
(Coincidentally, the ceremony came on the day that immigrants across the U.S. did not go to work, school or open their businesses to show the importance of immigrants to the American economy.)
Wintour seemingly choked up while remembering early-morning phone calls with the designer. “I admired and I adored him,” she said. “He was a guardian to my children, a mentor to me, part of the fabric of my life. I know Oscar would have loved these stamps. He delighted in color and in pattern, in refinement and in fit. And his designs reflected his personality: optimistic and fun and sunny and romantic.”
Clinton, the last to speak, looked back on where her friendship with de la Renta began: her first receiving line in the White House at the 1993 Kennedy Center Honors.
“I had bought this dress off the rack and Oscar and Annette were among the guests,” she said. “Oscar goes through the receiving line. As I’m shaking his hand and welcoming him to the White House, he says, ‘That’s my dress.’ I said, ‘Yes, it is.’ He said, ‘Where did you get it?’ I told him. He said, ‘Well, I’m calling you tomorrow.’ And he did.”
Clinton also recalled visiting the Dominican Republic in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch, where de la Renta gave her a tour of the orphanage he had started. She also reiterated Bloomberg’s point about the designer being an immigrant, drawing applause from the audience: “Oscar de la Renta was an immigrant, as Mike Bloomberg has said, and aren’t we proud and grateful that he was?
“In the corner of these striking stamps, it says, ‘USA forever,’” Clinton continued. “Let us remember what is durable and lasting about Oscar’s legacy. Of course, it is the fashion, it is the great worldly success, but it’s also going with him to Washington Heights, going to a nightclub and watching him dance the salsa with young people who are just starting out their lives in this great city in this blessed country. He knew what they were hoping for. He gave up his heart and his soul to make sure that his example would live on. What a fitting person to be chosen by our Postal Service, mentioned, by the way, in the Constitution, something we should all read and reread in today’s times, and it’s choice of this immigrant, who did so much for our country, his country, truly is what it means when we say, ‘USA forever.’ Who we are, what we stand for. And let there be many, many more immigrants with the love of America that Oscar de la Renta exemplified every single day.”