Monday, October 27, 2014

Manners Monday – Oscar de la Renta – Paying Homage to a Man who Epitomized Effortless Elegance

I was deeply saddened to learn the passing of Mr. de la Renta just one week ago today. My first and only encounter with the legendary designer was at the wedding of his step-daughter Eliza Reed to Alexander Bolen in June of 1998.  

Their nuptials took place at the de la Renta estate in Kent, Connecticut. Having never attended a summertime society wedding, I was advised by my father to purchase a hat for the occasion so out I went in search of the perfect accompaniment to compliment my buttercup dress and coat ensemble.  We were shuttled to the property by coach and escorted through the gorgeous gardens to the ceremony grounds.  It was a veritable sea of who’s who figures from the worlds of fashion, media and international society, but what struck me most was the vivid memory of how many dogs were in attendance.  Almost as many as guests!  

The weather was hot and muggy and a last minute torrential downpour made its best attempts to put a damper on the festivities. But not for long.  As if taking a cue from the spirit in the skies, the rain began to subside and out of the mist appeared the dashing Mr. de la Renta steering a golf cart with one hand while simultaneously holding on to the bride-to-be with the other. What very well could have been an afternoon wedding of pomp and circumstance was properly replaced with a warmth and effortless elegance that was welcome by all.  

Oscar de la Renta happened to embody elegance in every sense of the word endearing himself to throngs of fans spanning the globe from first ladies and celebrities to socialites and fashionistas. His elegance did not threaten his masculinity.  On the contrary, it added to it. He was the quintessential gentleman, both dapper and debonair who created a fashion empire that exemplified his zest for life as well as his eye for quality and impeccable taste.  Flawlessly dressed for any occasion, his sophistication and style went unrivaled setting a high bar for future male fashion designers climbing the ranks.  His sun-kissed skin, amiable smile and charming accent disarmed and captivated everyone he met. 

The Dominican-born American icon didn’t skip a beat working tirelessly up to his final days including designing the wedding dress for Amal Alamuddin who stole the heart of longtime bachelor George Clooney.  He will forever be remembered for his refinement and grace.