Today’s topic was supposed to be, “Old dogs unafraid of new tricks.” And then Oscar died. If us old dogs don’t have to learn new tricks living without the influence of Oscar de la Renta, we don’t know the definition of challenge. Grey Goose in hand, I wipe away a tear as the words of Miranda Priestly echo in my head.
You remember. Andie, still in moppet phase, says the belts all look the same. Is she blind? She says her pill-filled acrylic sweater is “blue.” Miranda escorts Andie to school; fashion school.
“That sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Once before I die give me a monologue to stop people in their tracks, mouths agape, thinking, “Damn girl. I wish I were you.”
Although our beloved Oscar, who passed to party with The Norwegian last night, created read-to-wear, it certainly was not what made him a household name. Wait, what? He’s not a household name in your house? Fix that shit right now girlfriend. Not only did he create ready-to-wear, he also acknowledged a difference between work and play dresses and coined appropriate workwear, “Day Dresses.” I may faint. The combination of taste, class and manners encompassed in one man calls me to wrap myself in taffeta and sip champagne while someone plays saxophone in the background.
To interpret Miranda for us masses: We may not have afforded his five thousand dollar frocks but he influenced everything we wore and continue to wear. People gladly paid five thousand for a dress because it filled the idea of anticipated value; that is the dress matched in quality, wear, design and timelessness exactly what we would expect the price to be. Have we heard this before ladies? Charge what you are worth and accept nothing less. In the meantime, deliver more than is expected and you will find yourself with oodles of success, and cash to match. And, possibly, an Oscar dress.
Don’t think you can do it? Oscar began with nothing. His parents did not want him to be a fashion designer. He was the first Latino accepted into the Paris fashion houses and the first designer to create and inhabit a lifestyle. You didn’t really think Tory invented that did you? Jump in, dolls. Do not fear. Remember; bedding down with fear will find you dead in the morning with no light in your cheeks to tell everyone how fabulous you and and your business are.
Too old? Oh my dear. Oscar, 82, was still working. At least until a few weeks ago. He designed Amal Alamuddin’s gown for her big night with George. It was one of many a famous frock; including the gold number Hillary wore to the second inauguration, the second time she conceded to being female. Oprah donned a navy blue stunner at the Met Ball. Who can forget SJP’s light pink feather concoction for the Oscars and even Cindy McCain’s gold full skirt shirtwaist paired with pearls and a jeweled brooch. Did someone say brooch? Can you grab my fan?
Take all that talent, pair it with a cutie pie face and some of the best lines ever to come out of a man’s mouth and he’s basically…the man of my dreams.
“Walk like you have three men walking behind you.” Do it, dolls. See what happens to your badass attitude.
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” Embrace your inner duchess my dolls. Always.
“The qualities I most admire in a woman are confidence and kindness.” We require these in equal measure to maintain our fabulousity.
“I don’t really know how to do casual clothes.” I weep into my Grey Goose.
We owe it to Oscar to don our best frocks, go out and show the world that us old dogs have a new trick or two up our perfectly tailored sleeves. Pfft.
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