Fashion museum hosts Oscar de la Renta exhibit

Kristen Kotz

The Oscar de la Renta exhibit showcases evening gowns and daywear. The show will be on display until Aug. 2007 in the Kent State University Fashion Museum in Rockwell Hall.

Photo Courtesy of Anne Bissonnette

Credit: Ron Soltys

High fashion has come to Kent State. Internationally renowned fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has a collection of clothes on display at the Kent State University Fashion Museum.

The exhibit includes 58 pieces from the stylist’s 1965 and 1982 lines, said Jean Druesedow, the museum’s director. The display consists of ready-to-wear evening gowns and daywear, which includes classic suits.

Ready-to wear garments are different from couture clothing.

“In Paris, couture is very expensive,” Druesedow said. “A dress might cost $15,000 depending on the beading and handiwork. Ready-to-wear is size ranges, a certain number of garments made and is not adjusted to the individual.”

De la Renta’s clothes are known for their fit on a woman’s body.

The exhibit comes from two gifts that de la Renta gave the museum’s founders, Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman, in 1983 and 1986. He presented the gifts to the museum because of his relationship with Sydelle and Gerald Shaw. The Shaws, who were good friends with Rodgers and Silverman, provided de la Renta with financial backing when he was first starting out in the industry.

The exhibit started in May 2006 and was supposed to close in May 2007, however, a scheduling conflict with the next exhibit at the museum resulted in it being extended until August 2007, Druesedow said. After the exhibit ends, all of the clothes on display will go back into storage in the museum’s basement.

De la Renta will be coming to Kent State on April 20 for the school’s annual portfolio show and will be inducted to the Kent State Fashion Hall of Fame, said Elizabeth Rhodes, the director of the School of Fashion.

“It’s an honor that we bestow upon someone who has been influential in fashion and has also influenced our program in some way,” Rhodes said.

Other famous designers who have been inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame include Estee Lauder and Ralph Rucci. Previous inductees have all went on to do something that was important for one or two students, such as giving them a job or internship, Rhodes said. Fashion students will also have the chance to speak with de la Renta at the show if they have seen the exhibit and want to ask him about it, Rhodes said.

Having an exhibit from such a famous designer at the museum has influenced fashion students like Mary Degen, a sophomore fashion design major.

“Even though he designed them in the 80s, you can still pull it off today,” she said.

The Fashion Museum is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4: 45 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:45 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for students and children 7 to 18. Kent State students and faculty with ID, children under 3 and general admission on Sunday are all free.

Contact fashion reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].