WWD: The Oscar de la Renta Archive
At Oscar de la Renta, there are those willing to roll up their sleeves and get to it. Housed in Queens, N.Y., at UOVO storage facility, the Oscar de la Renta archive is a working design tool. Bolen said, “It is a highly inspirational room for our design team to visit and get an idea of what Oscar was into. It’s easily accessed — to call it a warehouse is incorrect. It’s easy to use and a very accommodating environment. On top of it, we don’t have to go out there [to see the full archive], they’ve taken storage to the next level with their app and software to sort through things.”
There’s much to consider. The archive is a sprawling space exploding with iconic gowns, bold colors and breathtaking embellishments. The team at Oscar de la Renta doesn’t store the pieces in garment bags. Instead, these memorable collections are organized by style and theme, rather than season.
This is to inspire creativity and facilitate the pulling of pieces that will work well in exhibits such as “Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective” that opened at San Francisco’s de Young museum earlier this year. The show is set to travel, which calls for switching out pieces. “The principle way that the archive is impacting our daily life is for the retrospective of Oscar’s work. We’re able to reinterpret the exhibit for other markets in the world — what’s appropriate for Beijing or Moscow or Houston – and we can very easily sort through, and then when we have questions [pieces] seem to arrive [to the Manhattan office] in just five minutes,” said Bolen.
The archive is a treasure trove. Memorable pieces dating back to de la Renta’s time working for Elizabeth Arden are even in attendance. All of de la Renta’s collections are represented in the archive. With that, the necessary storage and upkeep of the facility is a must. Sudlow said, “With any work of art or collectible, impeccable provenance, quality and condition are key to determining and retaining value. Textiles in particular can be fragile and vulnerable to the vagaries of temperature, moisture and light changes in the environments in which they are stored or displayed.”
UOVO delivers. The storage facility is bringing personal and corporate archives into the future. It provides a user-friendly mobile app and software that allows virtual perusal and calling in of items. What’s more, a single point person is assigned to each client to help execute site visits and the design of the storage space itself in order to maximize the space.
Identifying that collectors and companies are looking to interact with archives, rather than stash away for little to no visiting, UOVO provides gallerylike viewing rooms for collectors to show items with potential buyers. “The first time I went out there, I walked away impressed by what they do for fashion brands. I thought seriously of staging our fall fashion show there. It’s a high-concept venue,” said Bolen.
Others tend to agree. UOVO counts Hamish Bowles and conglomerate company, PVH Corp. — owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger — among its clients. PVH archives garments, photographic prints, design materials and renderings, accessories, small machinery film reels, and other materials in its space. The archive team visits UOVO weekly for inspirational visits and design appointments.