The Retrospective: Oscar De La Renta At The deYoung Museum

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A spectacular gardener in his time, the late Oscar De La Renta is being honored for the 50 decades of floral wonderment he bestowed onto the world. His, arguably, most famous theme, “The Garden Inspiration” is a one of a lifetime collections to see. Here’s a simplified guide on how to respect sculptures when touring the lifetime gallery.

As an invited attendee to the deYoung press event, I felt completely honored to meet the mind of the man who set the world ablaze with his dream-like collections. Being revered to as, “the gardener of joyous fashion,” I felt as a gallery attendee who knew their place. I was but a simple conduit of reporting to the outside. Absorbing the 6 major themes of this man’s career and presenting them in an informed way.

Though sadly, my time visiting the retrospective was slightly annoyed by the other attendee’s who did not get a lesson in gallery going or art history. What was supposed to be a morning of learning turned quickly into am anthropologic study. You’re currently reading this 5 days later after the press event had come to a close, but if you plan on attending the retrospective–let me give you easy pointers that echo, not only respect but basic human courtesy.

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What was so admirable about the curation, headed by Vogue’s editor at large Andre Leon Talley, is that the set design represented the encapsulated atmosphere of de la Renta’s design career. Whether you were in his homeland of Santo Domingo or strutting the Golden Globes with die-hard clients, Sarah Jessica Parker, you were put into the designers shoes from day one. So listen, yes it’s amazing set design that shows off the dresses in a gorgeous way, no it’s not a chance for your to get your up-close Instagram shot. The stairs and ledges were not guarded off because the deYoung Museum wanted it’s viewer to get up and close with the garments.

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I get it, the west and east coast vibes are completely polar from one another, the west coast is the best coast, the east coast is the here coast. The sayings go on and on, as someone who often refers to presentations as the next step in fashion rather than a classic runway this retrospective was obviously the case. The gowns, made with jewel-encrusted taffetas and silk jersey knits, were on display in open air. Viewers could get as close as they want and as far as they wanted. The element of becoming one with the moments and time periods of the late designer’s life was evident. However, it does not warrant the right for you to sample the materials. What we mean by this is, HANDS OFF. As any gallery or art buff would know is that when you drift from room to room, you respectfully put both hands behind your back and let your eyes do the feeling. Just looking over to the multitude of bloggers running their dirty hands along the pristine white trains could give anyone a heart attack.

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One thing I love about Andre Leon Talley is that everything he does, whether it’s for the magazine, a curation, a fashion show, or a personal consultation, he means and does everything with a purpose. As a photographer and image-maker, I was absolutely blown away by the angles and lighting that he went for in de la Renta’s multiple gallery rooms. So skip the flash photography and embrace the dramatic set placement of this lighting because it’s much more moving than your over exposed Instagram snap.

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// Oscar De La Renta, The Retrospective, deYoung Museum, Mar 12th till May 30th. Buy your tickets here.

Written and photographed by Anthony Rogers, what else are you doing this week? Send us a hot tip! Need a good watering hole recommendation? Try these on for size!

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