I have to say, there are worse ways to for a gal to spend her lunch hour than with a bunch of her favorite pals getting a guided tour of Oscar de la Renta couture.
I don't talk about fashion too much on this blog, because mostly, it isn't a huge part of my life anymore. I think I dress decently cute about 75% of the time. I know what I like , what is "me," and I do what I can with my budget, my figure, and resources to stay true to that style. I don't wear heals, skinny jeans, or a lot of synthetic materials. I like cotton, denim, linen, and t-shirt material. I like cheap plastic vintage jewelry, cowboy boots, and bags big enough to hold a small child.
(these flowers are made from hand cut feathers)
But when I was a girl things were a little bit different.
You see, I thought I was going to grow up and be a fashion designer.
When I wasn't reading I was sketching. I sketched and sketched and sketched ideas for fashion shows.
When I was 11 I discovered Style with Elsa Klensch. I bought W Magazine and watched documentaries about Christian Lacroix and Marc Jacobs and ordered information about New York City from their tourism department, mapping out exactly where Parson's School of Design was.
When friends went to the Big Apple for Vacation I begged them to bring me back shopping bags from Macy's, Saks, and any designer store they could manage to get into.
My bedroom walls, like many teenage girls, where completely covered with pages of Seventeen, Allure, Sassy, Vogue and W.
And then I got a job at my favorite clothing store (the only one who carried ESPRIT in my tiny town,) and the magic began to fade a bit. I also discovered that in Fashion School I would have to cut and sew my own designs. And that it would require math. And somewhere along the way, I just kinda fell out of love with being a fashion designer. It wasn't dramatic. It wasn't a big deal. It just happened. And it has never really bothered me.
But still inside there is an itty bitty part that still enjoys certain aspects of the fashion world. The part of me that now watches Project Runway, and Rachel Zoe, the Oscar Red Carpet. The part of me that looks forward to the September Issue of Vogue each and every year.
So when I received the invite to spend my lunch break at the Clinton Library's new exhibit of Oscar de la Renta couture, you better believe I jumped at the chance!
As you can imagine the exhibit, though small, was exquisite. Oscar himself had been here (in my town!) at the grand opening a few weeks before and had seen to all the styling of the dresses and accessories.
(He was there along with Anna Wintour I might add. My Facebook was LIT up the day after the event with pictures of Oscar and Anna and the Clinton's with friends and friends of friends. I have to confess to being the tensiest bit jealous of them all!)
This is the Red Carpet section of the exhibit, featuring dresses worn by celebs like Taylor Swift and Jennifer Garner.
Remember that dress? This is it.
And yes it was BEAUTIFUL up close. All the dresses were.
But do you see how small that mannequin is? Guess what?
The mannequin was TOO BIG for the dress.
That's right. Anne Hathaway is tinier than that mannequin.
"But she looks average-thin in that photo" - that is what you are saying to yourself isn't it?
Yep. She does. She looks great. And healthy. And perhaps she is.
But man oh man, no wonder women and girls are killing themselves daily.
They think THINNER than this mannequin is the standard.
Here I am attempting to make the uber-serious mannequins laugh. I am doing my best pouty-French model face. What do you think?
Of course, despite all the fancy gold and silver of the shinny Red Carpet dresses, my very favorites were the colorful pieces.
I love how timeless they all seemed. I could see several of these pieces being worn for years. Of course it also cracked me up a little because the two coats are considered "Day Wear." Which is great because they are both fancier than anything in my closet that could even come close to being categorized as "evening wear."
And let's not forget why we have Oscar in my hometown to begin with. The First Ladies who have worn Oscar, and generously lent these dresses to the exhibit. The middle suit in creme is made of cashmere and was perhaps the piece we all coveted the most because we would actually be able to wear it places! Legend has it that Oscar's own wife has been begging him to make her a version of this suit and he won't do it.
Apparently the man likes to keep moving forward.
(Oscar and me, we are like this!)
If you live anywhere near Central Arkansas, or if you are just passing through, I would encourage you to stop off at the Clinton Library and check out this fun exhibit (closes December 1,) and learn a little bit more about the man who has dressed women, on both sides of the aisle, the orphanage he started and visited, and his life in fashion.
Or you can watch a great short video following the link below.
Either way :)
Oscar de la Renta: American Icon Exhibit Opening - July 8, 2013 from Clinton Presidential Center on Vimeo.
Huge thanks to Joy Secuban for putting this exhibit together and for inviting me on this tour! What a fun way to get reconnect with my childhood dream. And thanks friends for taking this little fashion detour with me.