OscarHillary Rodham Clinton said “This man has been working for more than 20 years to turn me into a fashion icon…despite his best efforts,” she cracked on Thursday night. Clinton, wearing a chartreuse silk faille top and a pair of subdued navy trousers, was speaking to a rapt audience: friends of de la Renta who had gathered at the Plaza Hotel’s Grand Ballroom to toast the designer as he received the Medal of Excellence from Carnegie Hall.

“Year in and year out, he’s never given up,” Clinton continued once the roar had died down.

De la Renta is equally tenacious when it comes to Carnegie Hall. “It’s a treasure of this city,” he said earlier in the evening as he settled into his dinner seat. “Without Carnegie Hall, there is no New York.” A dizzying concentration of dignitaries, clients and friends (many qualifying as all three) clustered around him, each hoping to get face time with the designer. “Oscar!” “Hello my darling,” and many, many variations thereof were exchanged.


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