ONE FOR THE RECORDS: As the fashion crowd continued to adjust to a world without Oscar de la Renta, perhaps no one was feeling the loss more than his longtime sales director Boaz Mazor. “We worked together for 45 years. I don’t think anybody in the industry has been together for that long, not in Europe, not in America,” he said Wednesday. “When I first came to New York, I met Kenneth Jay Lane at a party. I had been working as a male model in Paris for Pierre Cardin and I didn’t know anything about the fashion business in New York.”
After the fact, Lane invited Mazor to come for the coffee part of a dinner party that he was hosting to meet de la Renta and his first wife Francoise, the then-editor of French Vogue. The designer suggested Mazor visit his showroom to meet de la Renta’s three former business partners. “Oscar had about 20 employees at 550 Seventh Avenue. In those days, the whole world of fashion was in one of two great buildings — Geoffrey Beene, Donald Brooks, Pauline Trigiere, Norman Norrell. Everyone had their own floor with storage. There were no computers. If somebody wanted a dress, you had to go find it. Today you can’t even see the clothes any more,” Mazor said.
Over the years, Mazor, who shared a country house with John Richardson for 20 years, built a lasting friendship with de la Renta and his wife Annette. “We had a working relationship and a friendship relationship, and I loved every minute of it,” Mazor said.
“Oscar mentored me about everything not just fashion. He mentored me — about how to talk, how to do things, how to behave, how to dress the table.” Mazor said. If I know anything today, it’s because of him. That’s how it was.”
Carolyne Roehm also spoke fondly of her years working for the designer. Recalling how she, de la Renta and Richardson wound up singing opera in a car ride from Nice to Como, due to a fog-canceled flight into Milan, Roehm said, “I learned so many things from Oscar that had nothing to do with fashion and that’s why it’s so sad.”
On a lighter note, she recalled how de la Renta designed her first wedding dress but warned, “I have to tell you my record for designing wedding dresses for my employees is not great.” When I came back after that marriage, I told him, ‘Well, you can chalk up another one.’”
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