Live from the American Express Skybox: Alex Bolen

Oscar de la Renta has dressed generations of fashionistas for over 5 decades! The brand’s CEO Alex Bolen stopped by the American Express Skybox yesterday to talk about how the Oscar de la Renta name has expanded beyond the runway.

De la Renta sparked the designer fragrance craze in the ‘70s with his first scent, Oscar. He then expanded into accessories in 2001, homewares in 2002, bridal in 2006, and got back into the beauty biz in 2007, most recently crafting a luxury nail lacquer collection.

Bolen became a part of the organization in 2003 after becoming a part of the family in 1998 and, as a former banker, fell in love with the intrinsic creativity of fashion. He humbly spoke of the company’s innovations throughout the years that he has helped bring to fruition while maintaining the de la Renta DNA and answered questions from cardmembers. “Oscar always wants to know what’s new – what people are wearing on the street; what they’re wearing to go to dinner,” he said. “Oscar once said, ‘I have the memory of a mosquito.’”

As many young fans of the de la Renta label are looking into design, Bolen looked to Oscar himself for advice. “Oscar said, ‘Today, if you play tennis, you can be a really good designer or, if you’re an actress, you can be a designer,’” Bolen said. “While I don’t think that’s always true, Oscar said that to be a great designer, you have to know how to cut and sew to understand how to really work with fabric.”

With the birth OscarPRGirl, through Erika Bearman, it was one of the first in luxury to embrace social media, and the team is constantly on the lookout for new ways to connect with their customers. “When I started one of the first things Oscar told me was to keep my eyes open, and I’m energized by the ‘right-now’ aspect of it,” he said. “As Oscar always said, “Fashion isn’t about yesterday; it’s not about tomorrow; it’s about today.’” We couldn’t agree more!