Luxury Fashion Takes On Fitness Technology

The new Polo Tech compression shirt offers smart technology to send heartbeat, respiration, stress levels, and other data to tablets and smartphones. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauren)
The new Polo Tech compression shirt offers smart technology to send heartbeat, respiration, stress levels, and other data to tablets and smartphones. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauren)

NEW YORK—Luxury fashion is making inroads in wearable tech as more designers try their hands at developing smart, stylish accessories and clothing aimed at tracking...

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    The ensembles are among more than 60 featured in a new retrospective of the designer's career: "Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style" that opens Saturday at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas.

    "To me, this is such a great example of what Oscar really tries to do—whether it's for first ladies or the lady on the street, he really tries to understand what people want, what people need, he tries to get people. And I think that this is really a reflection of his great relationship with Mrs. Bush," said Alex Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, as well as the designer's son-in-law.

    The exhibit featuring designs from the beginning of de la Renta's career in the 1960s to present day is arranged by themes, from gowns inspired by de la Renta's love of gardening to those showing the Spanish influence on his works to gowns worn on red carpets and by first ladies, including Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Nancy Reagan.

    Bush said the exhibit was the designer's idea. "He called me and said, 'May I do a show there? I'd love to.' Of course I was thrilled, I'd always envisioned that we do a show of clothes," Bush said.

    Her daughter Jenna Bush Hager's wedding dress is among those displayed, along with Bush's turquoise mother-of-the bride dress.

    "When Jenna married, there was just one designer she wanted to design her dress, and that was Oscar," Bush said, adding, "Of course she thought it was the prettiest dress ever, and it is."

    Bush said she was able to wear many of the dresses to multiple events, including a blue silk dress she wore not only for a Vogue photo shoot but also on other occasions including a dinner for then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and for her White House portrait.

    "One of the great things about his clothes is that you can wear them over and over," she said. "They last longer than a year: Both they stay in fashion longer than a year and then they also obviously are so beautifully made they last for a long time."

    De la Renta's designs were also featured last year at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas—including a teal pantsuit Hillary Clinton wore when she was sworn in as senator.

    George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum: "Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style," runs through October 5.

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