Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective

By Kara Hugglestone/Sail Couture

Oscar de la Renta’s beautiful and feminine designs come alive in the world premiere of his retrospective at San Francisco’s De Young Museum now through May 30.

Masterfully curated by André Leon Talley, de la Renta’s lifelong friend and former American editor-at-large for Vogue, the exhibit covers five decades with 120 ensembles. It’s magical.

John Singer Sargent’s magnificent El Jaleo as backdrop in Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective

John Singer Sargent’s magnificent El Jaleo as backdrop. Photo: Kara Hugglestone

The exquisite designs are enhanced with imaginative backdrops. Particularly memorable is the reproduction of John Singer Sargent’s magnificent El Jaleo, a perfect backdrop to pieces inspired by Spain. Those inspired by the garden are flanked by a sumptuous multimedia film that puts you right there.

The effect is quite moving. Inspiration abounds and walking the exhibit we learn the source of de la Renta’s own inspiration.

nautical chic at oscar de la renta: the retrospective

A little nautical chic at Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective. Photo: Sail Couture

de la renta's travels inspired him

The retrospective offers a look at the world through Oscar de la Renta’s eyes. Photo: Kara Hugglestone

Travel lovers will be thrilled to learn the roll it played as muse.

various cultures influenced oscar de la renta's work

Spanish, Asian and Russian influences in Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective. Photo: Kara Hugglestone

“I have always been attracted to the exotic, not question about it… I would always look at folklore and how people were dress in different cultures…that is what fascinates me,” he said.

Click here to read more about this wonderful exhibit.


Kara Hugglestone is Founder and Editor of Sail Couture. She is also a San Francisco-based branding professional, sailor and traveler. When time permits, she indulges in her passion for things classic: cars, movies, wine and fashion. You can follow her on Instagram at @gallerykara.

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