Oscar de la Renta and Hillary Clinton go way back. As she recently said, in 1993 “I was hosting, along with my husband, the annual gathering for the Kennedy Center Honors. We were in the receiving line, and people were coming through, and they were making small talk. Along came Oscar and Annette, his fabulous wife. So I reached out to shake Oscar’s hand, and he looked me up and down and said, ‘That’s one of my dresses.’ I said, 'Really?’ … I always have been, as I am now, such a fashion icon.”
On Monday, evidence of their two-decade-long friendship will be put on display, as Oscar de la Renta: American Icon opens at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The show tells the story of the designer’s life and rich career—spanning from the 1960s, when the Dominican-born de la Renta moved to the United States and launched his ready-to-wear line, to recent stand-out collections. It also includes red-carpet highlights (including dresses worn by Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway) and big editorial moments (such as the dress worn by Carey Mulligan on the cover of Vogue last May).
Last month, Clinton (who appeared on the cover of Vogue in a de la Renta design in 1998) graced the stage at the CFDA Awards to bestow the designer with the organization’s prestigious Founder’s Award—and to give a passionate speech about de la Renta’s long friendship and many talents. When he got up to receive the award, he paused, smiled, and called Clinton his “best friend.”
Oscar de la Renta: American Icon runs from July 8 through December 1, 2013.