When Hillary Clinton opened her Twitter account earlier this year, her bio raised eyebrows: Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR, FLOTUS, US Senator, SecState, author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…
The speculation over “TBD” was just too delicious for pundits and politicos. Others remarked about the self-awareness and humor that came from “pantsuit aficionado.” The woman who cut a reporter to the quick when asked about her clothes instead of policy while she was Secretary of State, showed she knows she holds a unique place in American popular culture.
MODERATOR 1: Okay. Which designers do you prefer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: What, designers of clothes?
MODERATOR 1: Yes.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Would you ever ask a man that question?
MODERATOR 1: Probably not. Probably not.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s my answer.
Few people realize the man behind the woman in the pantsuit is none other than fashion icon Oscar de la Renta. The man who’s dressed celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Penelope Cruz and Halle Berry is the same man who first suggested the now iconic look for Clinton: the pantsuit.
He has not only influenced her daily wardrobe, he’s also outfitted her for countless formal events. It was de la Renta who convinced Vogue editor Anna Wintour to put Clinton on the most coveted cover of fashion magazines. She was the first First Lady to be a cover girl for Vogue.
But that’s just a small swatch in the fabric that has been de la Renta’s career. Since the 1960s, the Dominican-born designer has been producing head-turning creations for celebrities, dignitaries and multiple first ladies.
In the first seminal exhibition of his work, the Clinton Presidential Library has curated a display of more than 30 Oscar de la Renta’s award-winning pieces showcasing five decades of his work. Several of the pieces are on loan from private collections. – featuring de la Renta, the Clintons, and others – highlights his lifetime achievements, which go beyond fashion.
Through December 1, visitors to the museum can see the cultural influences that shaped him as well as his imprint on American design. If the old adage is true, that clothes make the man, then it’s Oscar de la Renta clothes that are making women like Hillary Clinton fashion icons – whether they want to talk about it or not.
Kerri Jackson Case
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