You might not expect a stamp dedication ceremony — which, one imagines, tend to be very sedate affairs — to engender many headlines. But this morning, several of Oscar de la Renta’s famous admirers came together at Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall to pay tribute to the late designer, whose likeness and work will be featured on a new series of Forever stamps. Those admirers included Michael Bloomberg, Anna Wintour, Anderson Cooper, and — most notably — Hillary Clinton, wearing a hot-pink pantsuit and smiling broadly as the crowd rippled with applause. Also in the audience: Ralph Lauren, Diane von Furstenberg, and Chelsea Clinton.
Clinton was the last to speak, and by far the most anticipated guest. While she began the speech recalling her first meeting with de la Renta at her first White House receiving line and their eventual friendship, she quickly segued into politics — albeit, with philately as a pretext. “Oscar de la Renta was an immigrant … And aren’t we proud and grateful that he was?” she said at one point in her speech. She pointed out that the stamps say USA Forever, a line that generated some applause. She finished with this:
What a fitting person to be chosen by our Postal Service, mentioned, by the way in the Constitution, something we should all read and re-read in today’s times. And its choice of this immigrant who did so much for our country, his country, truly is what it means when we say, ‘USA Forever.’ Who we are, what we stand for. And let there be many, many more immigrants with the love of America that Oscar de la Renta exemplified every single day.
Post-ceremony, the brand’s CEO Alex Bolen told the Cut that his team, particularly Annette de la Renta, worked closely with the Postal Service on the design. “We tried to get things that were very representational of what Oscar loved: embellishment, color, embroidery, and wanted to have things that really represented the very vibrant design ideas that Oscar loved.” Of course, the house is currently going through some changes, and is fresh off Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s debut show as the new designers of ODLR, after the departure of Peter Copping in July. “I am thrilled that they’re back in our company,” Bolen said. “The vibe in the office is extremely positive and, as somebody who has learned the hard way from the opposite, to have a good vibe in the office is incredibly important.” And since the show was plagued by a curtain malfunction, he joked that he did some extra work before the stamp unveiling: “I was a little concerned about the curtains today, so we did check to make sure they were working.”