On one level the idea of haute coterie as modern art works wonders, and yet on another it’s a strange bedfellow to true fine art. I guess the same thing could be said about comic books, movie posters and ceramics made using contempo methods.
After all, an average person could’ve theoretically purchased an original Van Gogh back in the day for less than $26 in beads and a bottle of booze and yet that same painting would a century later be worth millions. However, be assured that nobody buys the glamorous clothing on display in The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta with the thought of how much it will be worth in the next century.
The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta, currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston features seventy ensembles. Many of the dresses on display are unique and different from previous de la Renta museum exhibits.
An appreciation of the art on display begins with dividing the items on display into national themes like Spanish designs or Russian iconography. The designer originated clothing for over five decades.
Chinese motifs and inspiration from gardens of all nations take hold in separate galleries. One such tropical inspiration comes from Ylang-ylang, otherwise known as an Indonesian tree that produces flowers the blossom into the kinds of patterns and folds that dominate frilled and pleated dresses.
Oscar de la Renta was born in 1932 and lived until three years ago. His output, as seen in exhibit, includes such originals as Amal Clooney nee Alamuddin’s wedding dress and outfits worn by pop culture figures like Taylor Swift at a fashion event or Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette dress) in a Vanity Fair photo.
What can be the final result of the mixture of leather, metal studs, sequined embroidery and applied technique?
De la Renta only chose the best fabric for his designs, and it’s worth noting that hand-painted silk crépe cannot be an easy medium to master. Add onto that matelaasé appliqué and metallic trim, and we’re on a whole new level of clothes that look cool on the runway but are a bit cold when worn in winter climates.
Truth be told, this is an exhibit that can be best gauged by the people around you swooning at the dresses. In the end it’s a bunch of mannequins with fancy footwear and some exclusive android attitudes.
The Glamour and Romance of Oscar de la Renta, at the MFAH, continues until January 28, 2018.