Last weekend I had the pleasure visiting the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park- for the first time! I can’t believe I waited so long to see such an architecturally gorgeous museum with such beautiful artistic treasures inside. My friend Deborah (who is definitely not moving to Poland this summer*) and I went in order to see the special exhibition: Oscar de la Renta: The Retrospective. This is a beautiful and fun exhibit- I highly recommend that you see it.
Oscar de la Renta | The Retrospective
The first two rooms of The Retrospective are full of classic looks that de la Renta created through out the decades. He went through a flamenco phase that I was quite fond of (see top right of the collage below). While Deborah and I walked around we would talk about which one we liked the best, but the conversation always dissolved into admitting that they were all gorgeous and we would wear any one of them.
The one in the top left of the collage was also a favorite of mine. It involve wraps, layers, lace- these are all things that make me happy in fashion.
The garden collection was also lovely.
This punk rock parlor look was one of my favorites. It reminded me of an exhibit I saw at the Met in 2006 called Anglophenia. That was an exhibit of old (Edwardian?) clothes on mannequins with mohawked, acid bright hair, black eyeliner… they could have also been wearing Doc Martens for all I remember. This sort of punk rock and royalty combination is familiar now, but it was brand new then and it immediately charmed the pants off me. It was fun to re-visit it in a somewhat more sanitized way in this exhibit.
Finally, we landed in the Red Carpet room. This was staged particularly well.
There was a massive screen showing red carpet footage of celebrities wearing de la Renta gowns. The footage was full of the flashing from the obsessive photography present at any red carpet event. The gowns themselves were also there, off to the side.
There were mirrors everywhere in this room. Not only was this a great choice because it made it easy to see the backs of all the dresses (which are often just as beautiful as the fronts) but it also reflected the red carpet footage. As we walked around looking at the gowns, the flashes of light from pictures being taken and the images of Taylor Swift and Sarah Jessica Parker striking their best poses engulfed us. We were also on the red carpet.
While you are at the De Young, take a moment to visit the Observation Level. If you go on a clear day you will have a view of the park and the city. Like this:
Getting There and Getting In
The De Young is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30-5:15. On Fridays it is open until 8:45 from March through November.
Admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month. All other times it is $10 for adults. The Oscar de la Renta special exhibit is an extra $30.
The 44, 5, and 21 buses stop very close to the De Young. The N Judah Street Car is also nearby. There is lots of free street parking on weekdays, but on weekends you may need to park in the parking garage.
What to do Next
Hungry? The food in the museum cafe is quite nice. Alternatively, you could grab a hot dog or pretzel from a nearby vendor and grab a spot of grass in front of the fountain right outside the museum or in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, which is just a few minutes walk away.
If you happen to come out of the museum at closing time on a Thursday, I suggest you hop over to the California Academy of Sciences Night Life. It runs from 6-10, is less than half the price of admission, and is 21+. Everything is open in the museum (including the planetarium and the rain forest) plus every night has themed exhibits and themed cocktails.
If it is still day time when you come out of the museum, head down to Stow Lake for a nice relaxing paddle. The Japanese Tea Garden is also a nice option. I suggest you take a free tour with the SF City Guides if you are interested in either of those locations.
Have you ever been to the De Young?
*She is. She is definitely moving to Poland. I am remaining blissfully in denial until absolutely necessary.