The subject of fashion designers copying continues to make news. In The New York Times Magazine this past Sunday, Lynn Hirschberg interviewed Oscar de la Renta (‘The Substance of Style’) on the occasion of his new book, and spoke with him about the meaning of style and copycats. When Hirshberg mentioned to the dapper and influential designer, that “a dress from your last collection is not all that different from one you did in the 60’s or 70’s” and asked if he ever thinks, “I can’t do the macrame belt of flamenco skirt I did in 1969”, de la Renta answered that he has “zero memory. I didn’t keep any archives of the clothes from the 60’s and 70’s, and I have forgotten all those dresses. Besides, I hate retro.” Funny, his beautiful and opulent fall/winter 2002 collection, was so ‘retro’ in its peasant references and mood, that one well respected fashion journalist even commented that Oscar should have blatantly called it “an homage to Yves St. Laurent”. He may well have amnesia for his own past archives, but it seems he has good memory for the archives of others.

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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