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Rest in peace Dear Oscar.
You made your country proud, thanks for always being such a great ambassador.
A Final Bow
It was a little over a month ago when I was walking down West 42nd street. I blended into the New Yorker mindset perfectly - I kept the right pace and I weaved my way around the concrete jungle’s controlled chaos like I had lived there for years. I was quite nervous, yet that didn’t slow me down to where I was headed. After passing Grand Central Station and Bryant Park, I stopped myself in front of a skyscraping building. “I’m here to photograph the Oscar de la Renta show,” I calmly told the security guard while trying to mask my uncontainable excitement.
Not many people have the opportunity to gallivant backstage at the one of the most prestigious New York fashion house’s headquarters, so my emotional flurry was more than expected. I took the elevator to the 25th floor, and with my head in the clouds, I stepped off into a whirlwind of stuffed garment bags, puffs of clothing steamers and fashionable ladies clad in black. I was 5 minutes late for being 3 hours early, yet the backstage magic was already unfolding.
Reflecting on my experience at the Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2015 show brings back a wave of emotions. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to photograph the collection in the first place, but it grieves me that my first Oscar de la Renta show was his last. From an outsider looking in, he was magnificent. He was as brave, bold and romantic as his designs and most importantly, he was always smiling. We are lucky a genuinely talented, and the epitome of the term, “tall, dark and handsome,” legend graced our artistic values with his sophisticated and glamorous vision.
I remember standing outside of his office as he was surrounded by a small group of his closest friends and family. He was telling a story that was personified through his hand movements. And there it was, that gorgeous smile. He seemed so happy to be there, surrounded by loved ones and his beautiful creations. As the show was about to start he went directly backstage, behind the gorgeous floral arch, to send out the models one-by-one to the runway, for his last time.
My heart feels tumultuous because unbeknownst to me at the time, I was experiencing his most important collection to date. I felt lucky from every accelerated mile on the plane and every stride from the subway station to every beep of the rising floors on the elevator, to be in the presence of his greatness. The gorgeous photographs I took will be mounted on my walls, forever keepsakes that represent my pride, serendipity and enchantment of my Oscar de la Renta experience.
Oscar de la Renta has been a household name for decades. He was a favorite among First Ladies, dressing every single one since Jackie Kennedy in the early 1960’s. Seeing his final designs in person and in detail is an experience I will cherish forever. Being able to attend a Lincoln Center fashion show is one thing, but the memory of being welcomed into an iconic fashion house will live as long in my heart as his legacy does in the wardrobes of majestic, independent and quintessentially fashionable women.