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How Thucydides Taught Us To Appreciate Oscar De La Renta

Being a classicist has certain consequences for how one perceives the evolution and continuation of history. Thucydides tells us that one must interpret history within the framework of one's culture and times. The great lesson of his history of the Peloponnesian War is that circumstances change, humanity does not, thus one must understand humanity within its circumstances. This thesis applies just as much to the historians of the world as to the designers. Interpreting the successes and failures of a collection must come within the context of the culture you are viewing. Call us Straussian interpreters of fashion but it is within the context, culture, and consumers of Oscar De La Renta that we review his work.


And as such we argue that no one has been more successful within their own idiom than Oscar De La Renta. It wouldn't matter what was sent down the runway, we would show our love and fealty because it is a triumph of its own context. This is by no means a post-modern critique, in fact precisely the opposite. We do not compare it to other ages, we do not compare it to other designers, it is not remotely relative. It exists for itself, by itself, and within its own culture and should be critiqued as such.


We can tell you what we saw on the runway but keen observers of fashion will not be surprised to hear what we saw on the Spring 2009 Runway. Sure there were a few novelties, he opened with bathing suits in grey and red. But the emblems of the Oscar De La Renta way continue to walk down the runway season after season, changing, morphing, updating but always existing within the context of the Oscar De La Renta world. Silk faile, chiffon, and crepe form the textile basis for full skirts, tailored dresses and structured jackets. Evening gowns wowed us, and yes there were plenty of lovely hand bags. It is everything a lady of class, sophistication and let us not forget power, could ever need. And as long as it stays true to that world it is a success.


Please enjoy our photographer Justin Lin's scenes from the show.






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