This is what I remember about posing in the Oscar de la Renta dress shown here:
The garment was brilliant—the softest black velvet combined ingeniously with shimmering gold fabric. I was not sure how to pose, to do that exquisite creation justice. Antonio Lopez sketched lines with his pencil before adding paint. Beside him stood a woman who had invited me to her recent party. I had not gone.
The party started late, at the end of a long day for me. I had begun the morning with a vigorous dance class. The exercise gave me the stamina to stand for ten hours in heels, finishing a job for Vogue Italia. Instead of attending the party, I opted to go out for dinner with my husband. I was in bed by 10:00, which was my usual time during the work week.
Standing near Antonio while I posed, the woman kept asking me why I had not come. She would not accept the truth. I did not want to answer her again, so I turned my back—hence the pose you see here.
What exactly does this have to do with health and wellness? Sometimes we must say no to things to keep our lives in balance. Everyone has a different level of natural energy, without drugs or alcohol or even exorbitant amounts of caffeine. It is important to be aware of that energy level and to respect it by making wise choices.
I did not know Oscar de la Renta personally, but I know people who did. From their stories, I know that he took care of himself in this way. How else would he have been able to design, when he was 82, the dress that Amal Alamuddin wore for her marriage to George Clooney just last month? I want to be working at that age, using my skills, time and gifts for the benefit of others, hopefully with a sense of vitality and purpose.
We all have a responsibility to “guard our chi” (vital life energy) by making wise lifestyle choices, as Chinese Medicine reminds us. That does not mean that we will be perfect. We may need to “burn our chi” for the right reasons. This is a fine balance, too; it enables us to use our unique gifts that the world is really begging for. Everyone is different and will have a unique style that works for their individual needs.
Oscar de la Renta, who died last Monday, used his talents to bring beauty to the world until the end. That is always a very good thing. May he rest in peace.