Oscar de la Renta on life, love and his new fragrance

Photography by Jason Hudson
Photography by Jason Hudson

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For as long as I can remember, my mother’s vanity held curvy glass bottles of Oscar de la Renta’s namesake eau de toilette. The elegant black signature on the bottle stood out, and I remember asking her more than once, “Who is Oscar de la Renta? Two decades later at the Bay’s Queen Street flagship in Toronto, I finally got a chance to see the man himself, in town to promote Live in Love, his newest addition to the fragrance world. Accompanied by the Bay’s CEO Bonnie Brooks on his left arm and Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker on his right (he’s always been popular with the ladies), the navy suit­–clad de la Renta was the very picture of living in love.

“Being in love, first of all, has to be about yourself,” he told the throngs of (mostly) women who’d come to see him. “You cannot love anyone if you don’t love yourself.” And everyone at the Bay certainly did love Oscar. Hundreds of life-long devotees and new fans were lined up throughout The White Space for some face time with the Dominican legend.

On the ever-popular subject of getting older, the 79-year-old couturier was adamant that great things come with age. “I’m a better designer today than I was 30, 40 years ago because I learned so much more, about life, about my craft…. Elegance is not something you are born with.” It comes with living, loving, and a little help from Oscar.

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