If you loved glamor, if you wanted to look sophisticated or fashionable, or if you simply enjoy being a woman, the great designer, Oscar de la Renta was your guy. Last night, the fashion world lost one of it’s greatest stars. The proof is all around. There have been tributes after tributes describing the stellar career of Oscar de la Renta and his house of design, about how he even went to Vogue editors at the beginning of his career to ask them what would it take for him to be great at design, to which they replied go learn from Elizabeth Arden.
At that time, Elizabeth Arden was a household name although not in design. With Arden, they transformed the ready to wear market with designs that would make any woman look and feel glamorous. Two years later, Oscar de la Renta moved on to start his fashion house and the rest as they say is history.
I share this because there are numerous lessons from Oscar de la renta’s legacy that would be of benefit to any fashion designer in Nigeria. Nigerian fashion designers and Oscar de la Renta are two names that no one I am sure has ever coupled together before, but it should why? Because Oscar de la Renta was a man who understood the essence of modern design values with clothes that often worked to modify anyone’s views about what is fashionable. This essential ingredient in fashion design is absent in many fashion designs from Nigeria with the exception of stars like Maki Oh for example.
The great part of his legacy is that he never deviated from this simple fashion philosophy. He made a statement with clothes that were standout all the time and people left his shows saying I want that or how can I get that. But this is what it will take to be a household name in fashion and design for Nigeria and the global world at large. Your clothes have to change our views on what is fashionable always. Take one last look at his recent show which I wrote about here and your will read why Oscar de la Renta matters for Nigerian fashion. On another note, May your glamorous soul rest in peace Oscar de la Renta.