NEW YORK — Friendly as he has been with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton over the years, Oscar de la Renta will be making his first trip to Little Rock, Ark., Monday for what should be an eventful night.
Two private planes are lined up to fly in the designer with his family and friends to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center for the opening night party of the retrospective exhibit “Oscar de la Renta: American Icon.” The exhibition will detail his life, career and impact on the fashion world with 30 of his designs as well as photographs and video interviews. From his boyhood days in the Dominican Republic to his years spent working in Spain, Paris and eventually the U.S., visitors will get a play-by-play look at how de la Renta’s career has evolved over more than five decades.
Former Secretary of State Rodham Clinton (who honored de la Renta at last month’s Council of Fashion Designers of America awards) had the idea for his Arkansas retrospective some time ago. “I was very honored. Originally, I thought the library had some of the other clothes that I had done for Mrs. Clinton. I was told, ‘No, this is not at all about Mrs. Clinton. It’s about you.’”
Their mutual admiration is a long time running. In a 1998 Vogue cover story, Rodham Clinton praised de la Renta as “the ultimate statesman of American fashion” and “a true American original.” Although her husband left office more than 12 years ago, de la Renta would like to see her return to the Oval Office as president. “I do hope that Hillary will be our next president. They are really extraordinary people,” he said Tuesday.
For the event, Rodham Clinton will no doubt wear something designed by de la Renta, but she did not make any special requests. “I don’t even know what she is wearing. It will probably be a white jacket of mine and black pants. That’s her uniform now,” he said.
The Clintons will be joined at Monday’s party by their daughter Chelsea. Barbara Walters and Anna Wintour will also be among the well-wishers. The aforementioned are also featured in a video, which de la Renta has heard about but has yet to see. The fashion-focused exhibition is a first for the Clinton library.
Jennifer Park and Molly Sorkin, who helped de la Renta with exhibits at the Spanish Institute, worked closely with the designer to curate the “American Icon” show and to oversee its installation. Having sent pieces from his archives dating “all the way back to the Sixties,” de la Renta was reluctant to single out any favorites. “All of them [are] especially the ones that people don’t like because I feel sorry for them,” he said.
The Little Rock show will be on view through Dec. 1. In light of his recent CFDA award and a rousing Q&A at 92Y, the Clinton Library exhibition has helped make this year a memorable one. And de la Renta is ready for more fun. “Hopefully, every year is going to be like this,” he said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast