The Gold Standard

Who inspires me as a designer? One man: Oscar de la Renta. And this is HIS week, isn’t it?!

What with the opening of the exhibit at the Clinton Library, the eyes of the fashion world are on his work…again!

My personal first impressions of this American Icon were formed when I was lucky enough to be invited on a very short guest list to the debut of his first bridal collection. The show was a media frenzy at an embassy in NYC. Security was tight. Every detail a secret. The buzz in the rooms was electric. Somehow, (there surely was a mistake) I was seated on the second row!

EmbassyShowJust adding to the excitement was the sequence of the show just 10 feet outside the room where I was seated BEFORE they walked in…where the press was smashed on top of each other. The barrage of flashes was like watching a lightning storm at close proximity! Each time a new gown emerged, the room exploded in flashes and applause. I don’t remember even being able to hear the music! The models were the best I have ever seen. The gowns each more unbelievable than the last.

At the conclusion of the show, Mr. de la Renta chose to not walk the runway, (he is notoriously shy) but rather popped out of the hallway, waved and ducked right back.

The buyers were almost in shocked amazement and left in a cloud of “Wow!”

Each of his gowns reeks of quality. There is no “Oscar look.”

I have followed with fascination his prolific career and am inspired not so much by his talent (though it’s off the chart), but rather his demeanor and authenticity. One of my personal standards is to be the same guy off-stage as I am on-stage. I hope people feel they are visiting with the same Michael Nolte regardless of the setting in which they meet me.

Mr. de la Renta continues to reach out and give back, time and time again. He is humble, and yet aware of his role in the world, and uses it for good. I can only hope to be such a “fashion reference”…such a human being. Oscar de la Renta is the Real Deal. Enjoy the video! (I sure did)