By Debbie Schlussel
The world of fashion and pop culture is lamenting the death of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta at age 82. But none of the obituaries mention that he was among those who dared to buck the jihadist, anti-Semitic boycott of Israel, showing his fashions there at the invitation of Israel’s then “First Lady.” And few obits will mention that de la Renta wasn’t shy about criticizing Mrs. Obama.
Oscar de la Renta (Left) w/ Right-Hand Man, IDF Veteran Boaz Mazor
Born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta put U.S. fashion on the map, choosing New York as his headquarters for nearly a half century of designing under his own eponymous label. This was at a time when Paris and Milan ruled the runways and the offerings in haute couture. Not only did he make the chicly fashionable like Jackie Kennedy and celebrities fashionably chic, but he also managed to single-handedly make the hopelessly unattractive (Hillary Clinton, Sarah Jess-equine Parker), the committedly slovenly (Oprah Winfrey), congenitally dowdy (Laura Bush), and the perpetually pretentious and fashion self-victimized (Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Hussein Obama Idi Amin Dada) all look better than could ever be expected. They all looked better when they wore Oscar. It bears notice that de la Renta, who chose America as his home and turned New York into a major fashion power, criticized Mrs. Obama for wearing so many foreign designers. That’s rare in a world in which designers pander to the First Lady lest their clothes not be worn by her.
I was lucky, back in the day (the 1980s and ’90s) to have a few off-the-rack de la Renta pieces (which I bought on super-super-sale, or I could never afford them). They were at the same time chic and classic. Even his most “trendy” clothes were actually timeless classics, modern and at the same time always in and polished. De la Renta shied away from actual trends, preferring beauty and style to ephemeral cheap fast fashion fads. None of his clothes were sleazy, which you can’t say about most high fashion sachems today.
And while de la Renta’s last big splash was unfortunately providing the wedding gown of the viciously anti-Israel, anti-Semitic Amal Alamuddin a/k/a Amal Clooney to pretentious liberal dope George Clooney, it bears special note that Oscar de la Renta was among those who ignored calls by jihadists and their fellow Jew-haters to boycott Israel. It may be in part due to the fact that his longtime (several decades) right-hand man, Boaz Mazur (also spelled, “Mazor”), was born in Israel and proudly served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Mazur, who first came to New York as a male model in the ’70s after completing his IDF service, was at de la Renta’s side ever since. He is Vice President of de la Renta’s design company. Mazur/Mazor’s family is from North Africa, and they, too, were blown away in the winds of jihad, like many Jews from Arabic and Muslim nations, forced to flee for safety and security in Israel.
Check out this report from de la Renta’s 1996 visit to Israel, although I don’t think the fascination with Jordan or the Peace-In-Name-Only process is so well-founded nor did I believe the anti-Israel claim that Israeli models were “shaky” on stiletto heels (those anti-Israel reporters always gotta get their digs in):
BEN GURION AIRPORT, ISRAEL BEN GURION AIRPORT, Israel–Oscar de la Renta took the elaborate wool plaids and shimmering sequins of his Winter ’96 collection to a hanger outside Tel Aviv, where models stepped down from an El Al airplane onto a runway. The Dominican-born designer said he jumped at the offer by Leah Rabin, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s wife, to hold the first foreign showing of his collection in Israel. . . . Read the rest of this entry »