Oscar De las salas works at Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm, where he is a project manager and contributes to business development. Currently, he has his pulse on the happenings in and around Phoenix, with two large Roosevelt District hospitality projects, urban projects for local municipalities, and a series of projects that include helping developers to bring hospitality and workspace projects into the Arizona market. However, his roots in Arizona stem from his philanthropic efforts and impeccable eye for design, as well.
“My husband and I are fortunate to be Individual Honorees at the annual Valley Youth Theater fundraiser, I will be hosting the NOCHE EN BLANCO and I also am part of the Friends of Phoenix Public Art, as well as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Advisory Council. I am the chairman of this year’s ARTrageous gala to benefit Scottsdale Arts art programs as well.”
Artforms such as architecture and fashion design have blended throughout Oscar’s career and played an important role in who he is today.
“I am a graduated architect with a master’s in interior architectural design, and anything design lingers around me all the time. It was a way of life, starting in my hometown in Colombia.”
The importance of being “pulled together” has been a longtime family tradition for Oscar. His aunt has been a couture and costume workshop owner his whole life, and he recalls that the “ladies of society” used to come to the docks to see what was coming into port before the goods migrated to the city boutiques. The chance of getting a desirable Chanel suit, a Dior skirt or a Schiaparelli blouse at a bargain was a conquest.
“I was asked to go to my aunt’s studio and draw some of the catalog mannequins, as I was able to draw at that level. I was the one who was asked to pull together ideas and ultimately give my design input. The result was a final design and sketches that were created and sold.
“My work with fashion design is only activated for those who are very close to me—my family and very close friends. And it is the same for the talent with which I work. I develop close relationships with my seamstresses and tailors. Unfortunately, my head seamstress died of complications of breast cancer recently, and it’s been difficult to find someone with the same knowledge, ability, and who is as enthusiastic as she was. We worked together, yes, but I also lost a close friend. That is how personal design is to me.”
Oscar has created custom-made gowns for Brazilian model and humanitarian Micheline Etkin to attend the Golden Globes and Miss Utah for her Miss USA pageant in 2017. He has also created a couture wedding gown for his good friend Jill Krigsten Riley. Currently, he is sourcing material for two gowns that will be worn at the annual American Heart Association’s Phoenix Heart Ball.
Oscar feels that style is “the art of becoming you” and the ability of being you regardless of what the world out there thinks of you. For fall, he sees the distinction between the rest of the world and what those here in the Sonoran Desert reach for.
“We are seeing a distinct change toward bold colors in menswear. Chartreuse and mustard are showing up in jackets and cardigans, while dark maroons and chocolate colors are appearing in suede jackets with combinations of different grays—not to mention the tangerine and pumpkin colors that have been a staple for two seasons. A new trend is taking more risk for the gents—a subtle print and colorful socks under grays and blues for the daily attire. The use of sneakers with suits is a trend that ‘millennial-minded men’ have acquired and labeled as part of their unconformity with the establishment—at least when it comes to men’s fashion.”
Oscar is very comfortable in owning his own fashion sense.
“My preferred element leads my choices: my love for large botanical prints, prints with dramatic skulls and my love of geometric prints in black and white drive me to mix and match as loudly as I can and as often as possible.”
He says his current work in architecture is a form of design that he carries throughout his other artistic ventures.
“I have turned my talents to help make things happen in my own backyard, always having the world of arts and youth as a line of work and as my focus. I have used all my talents to create place, to create unity and community, while maintaining a passion for style and a unique approach.”
Photographed on-site at Mountain Shadows, MountainShadows.com
“Style goes beyond your look; it comprises your demeanor and your ability to calmly stand in front of a crowd. Style is a notable discipline on practicing good manners, creating impeccable personal hygiene and an awareness of one’s physical and intellectual self.” –Oscar De las salas