"Never in history has there been a time when a woman has as much control over her destiny as she does today." — Oscar de la RentaEarlier this year, I had the honor of attending a reception and fashion presentation at Neiman Marcus in our nation's capital, hosted by the Washington National Opera and Oscar de la Renta. I'm still pinching myself...
Oscar presented his fall 2010 collection, and the room was filled with oohs and aahs, and maybe even some drooling. Well, maybe not; this was a sophisticated crowd.
I sat in the second row, opposite of Mr. De la Renta, and was completely in awe of his presence. Was I really in the same room as him? Watching his work strut down the runway? Yes. Yes, I was.
After his masterpieces finished filing down the runway, Oscar gave a speech and thanked those in attendance. He was so gracious. No, Oscar, thank you! Then came time for him to mingle and meet those who came. This reception wasn't set-up to be a meet and greet, but he hung around to meet his admirers and take picture after picture after picture. Now, I was not about to let this moment pass me by!
I have deeply admired Oscar de la Renta since I was a little girl. Ever since my Dominican grandmother noticed my fascination with clothing as a young girl and told me about a Dominican fashion designer who was one of the best in the world, one of the best there ever was, who dressed everyone from first ladies to royalty to Hollywood stars, I've been borderline obsessed. I handed my glass of Pellegrino back to the waiter, I had only taken a sip. He looked at me like I was crazy, and in that moment I probably did look crazy. My heart felt like it was jumping out of my chest. I was really nervous and my mind was racing. I had rehearsed a speech in my head for days leading up to the event, but I couldn't remember a word. I tried my very best to keep my composure...
Now, I remember my speech only because it was saved in a Notepad file on my computer, which means I don't really remember it. Clearly, I was practicing and I don't know why. Practice didn't make perfect in this instance. Here is what I wanted to say:
It is such an honor to meet you! You have been an inspiration to me since I was a little girl, and you're the reason I fell in love with art and fashion. You make me proud to be Dominican. Thank you.Like I said, I don't know what I was rehearsing for or even why I thought of writing/practicing a speech because when I approached him, well, actually, he approached me (I swear, he did), NONE of those words came out of my mouth. He started walking towards me, looked me up and down (I hope he liked what I was wearing. I hope he didn't think I looked a hot mess.) and smiled at me. That's when my face went blank, eyes froze, and all I could say was: It is such an honor to meet you. Ever gracious, he replied: Thank you, sweetie. And that's when this woman hollered: Mr. De la Renta, I feel like the ultimate woman in your clothes! Another woman jumped in and told him that the dress she had on was one of his from the 80's. "Do you still like it?" she shouted. Mr. De la Renta replied, "I love it." Wait a second, these women are ruining my moment! A moment I've dreamed of my entire life! I didn't get a picture, yet!
Oscar started to slowly move away from me, my heart began to beat faster and I started to clutch my camera with a nervousness I've never felt before, but before he was out of reach, I shyly asked for a picture. I don't know if he heard me, in fact, he didn't, but the lady escorting him did and told me to "jump in," grabbed my camera from my shaky hands and snapped a moment of history in my life. The result, the photo above.
For a moment, I was afraid I was going to walk away from this event with just an image in my head, but thankfully, someone recognized my nervousness and eagerness to ask him for a picture. Hallelujah!
Although, it lasted no more than ten seconds, that moment seemed like forever. And I know it's cheesy that I remember every detail, but that moment meant so much to me; it was a lifelong dream come true, and I will remember it for the rest of my life.
Here is a snippet of the show courtesy of my friend, Elaine Mensah of SVELTE TV: