And in honor of the success of this man, I quote from the In the Heights Musical, because his collection reminded me of a renewed faith in the" pursuit of happiness":
"We came to work and to live and we got a lot in common,
DR, PR, we are not stoppin.
In the heights, every day, paciencia y fe. "
I hope this quote makes sense to you; it makes sense to me because I've heard it a million times, and I have the beat down. But essentially, the quote exemplifies the immigrant struggle in the pursuit of a dream, whatever that dream may be. It can be as simple as life, and it can be as dreamy as an amazing collection at the NY Fall Fashion week of 2010. Today I chose to carefully romanticize Oscar's adventure in becoming a fashion icon. After a decade of dressing the likes of Laura Bush, he still has it. Coño! he really does.
It's a strange time in our country. The anti-immigrant sentiment has risen to levels that make me feel depressed, confused, and subliminally isolated. Granted, there are other things in my life that make me feel more "unique" than my immigrant background (i.e. I am a chicana doing a transportation engineering degree). Further, as one who holds an American citizenship, I am safe here; unless Ron Paul Jr. manages to change the constitution and takes away my birth right. The point is, I am not in the shadows, and I am supposed to be free.
But these times do question my memory, the validity of my experience, and the direction that I am going. I am supposed to be upwardly mobile. Am I? I'm supposed to be free to decide my destiny and legacy. Am I? I spent 10 years of my life speaking mostly spanish. I learned to read, multiply, and the names of the planets in our solar system in spanish (including el Pluton). But there's an ever present national narrative that is constantly at work here, erasing this possibility. I feel like Alice when that dog erases the path behind her and in front of her while lost in Wonderland. But luckily, every so often, I experience something that puts me at ease of where I am going, by reminding me of where I am coming from.
This week it was Oscar de La Renta's Collection. While I have yet to complete my review of the week's collections (very, very busy week) I took minor breaks from studying last night to see Oscar's. I instantly felt renewed! El arte de Oscar is fresh, de colores, and I love it. One day, when I have a little money, I'm going to buy a piece by OLR (along with a pair of Manolos). Yes, I love my bf Omar, but I would love Oscar de la Renta on me =)! The weight of his collection gets magnified when I think about the struggle behind it all. The man was born in the DR with a hybrid PR/DR experience. Then after studying art and falling into fashion, he came to New York (that concrete jungle, where dreams are made of), and started his own line, and then, wabam, el immigrante took the fashion industry by storm. He is now an icon.
(One of his Dresses, soooooo pretty)
While NY Fashion Week is full of glamour and things way beyond my price range, there are stories to be told there. Although Oscar de La Renta has reached iconic status, we all remember the shock last January when Michelle Obama chose Jason Wu's dress, another immigrant from Taiwan. While OLR shows what has been done, Jason Wu has renewed our promise.The immigrant push to renew America's creative expression and re-invent the American story is ever present. Their collections make me excited and provide a visual representation of what immigrants achieve in making America better, even if its just clothes. I have still to see immigrant Designers in the Paris Fashion Week achieve the same level of success as Designers like OLR, Carolina Herrera, Narcizco Rodriguez, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, etc. etc. etc.. This is American Fashion.
Here is the link to their collections:
I'll try to post more pictures on my next post, but now, I'm off to the museum.
To be continued....