The exhibition is a major retrospective of the legendary American fashion designer. Offering Dallas the opportunity to experience fashion first-hand, the exhibit explores de la Renta’s remarkable career from its origins to its most recent masterpieces.
Featuring more than 60 outfits, the exhibit highlights de la Renta’s designs for three First Ladies: Nancy Reagan, Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush. As the coutourier’s ensembles changed with the times, his designs offer insight into the unique role of the First Lady as our country’s official hostess to world leaders and trendsetter in style, fashion and entertaining.
When thinking about the various personal styles and eras of each First Lady, its hard to imagine how one designer could have dressed each so beautifully. Yet through each differing fashion period, de la Renta created just the right look for the President’s wife.
“Oscar de la Renta is a successful designer because he is always Oscar,” says Chelsea Bell, professor in the Division of Journalism’s Fashion Media Program in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “His designs for each of the First Ladies were specific to their tastes and personalities, yet they all exuded the aesthetic of [his] design style. Great designers are able to capture the needs and personalities of their clients while still maintaing the design sensibilities that define their work.”
The exhibit also features de la Renta’s Spanish and garden inspirations, as well as his use of motifs and silhouettes from cultures around the globe. Highlighting the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of couture clothing, other sections detail his work for stars of stage, screen and high society.
SMU faculty, staff and students receive free admission to the Bush Center with their SMU IDs. The exhibit is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., as well as Sunday 12-5 p.m.