San Francisco's Society Gets All Dressed Up in Their Oscar de la Renta Finest

"Women in San Francisco have style,” André Leon Talley said, at the opening of “Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective” on Wednesday night at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. Looking around at the women who had gathered for the event--including Alexis and Katie Traina, Vanessa Getty, and Yurie Pascarella--he appeared to be correct, at least when it came to San Francisco wearing Oscar de la Renta. (Talley, who had curated the exhibition of 135 looks, was wearing a crimson silk taffeta cape for the occasion.)

Dede Wilsey, who met Oscar in 1963 (“I was five,” she joked), co-chaired the evening with Annette de la Renta. From the “dozens and dozens” of pieces by de la Renta in her closet, Mrs. Wilsey chose a pale pink embroidered gown and matching bolero, which she complemented with major diamond earrings and a cabochon cut ruby necklace. The legendary Texas socialite Lynn Wyatt, who loaned three ensembles for the exhibition, wore an embellished black ensemble from her own collection. "He wants to the make the woman feel glamorous," she said. "And we DO... we do when we wear his clothes.”

Peter Copping, the Creative Director of the house, was particularly taken with looks from Anne Getty, another San Francisco grande dame, “Some of the clothes belonging to her were really exceptional. She must be quite a woman. To wear those clothes, you’ve got style and charisma, I think.” Her daughter-in-law Vanessa Getty, who wore a black strapless fishtail gown by Copping , agreed. Reflecting on the show, The designer added, “It’s important to know what’s gone before me. And to see a room full of clothes designed by Oscar was really very inspiring and kind of emotional as well.”

And then, a mariachi band entered the dining room---which was filled with heaping bouquets of red and pink roses, hyacinth and cherry blossoms. Everyone smiled--especially Talley, who said, "The most exciting part is to bring back all of the wonderful memories. The most superb memories of joy, knowing Oscar and his love of life. Oscar loved to sing, dance, he loved beauty, he loved flowers, he loved marvelous food, marvelous dinner guests, he loved to entertain beautifully, and he entertained beautifully.”