This year marks the 20th anniversary of Narciso Rodriguez’s collection, which he launched in 1997 for spring 1998, one year after he designed one of the most iconic wedding dresses of all time: the spare, ivory bias-cut silk crepe slip worn by Carolyn Bessette for her wedding to John F Kennedy Jr. Rodriguez met Bessette Kennedy when the two worked together at Calvin Klein. Her gown embodied the chic, purist simplicity that still defines Rodriguez’s work more than two decades later.
A Cuban-American, Rodriguez was born in Newark, New Jersey. He studied at Parsons School of Design and worked at Anne Klein under Donna Karan before working on the women’s collection at Calvin Klein. He also held design director roles at TSE, Cerruti and Loewe. He won the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year awards consecutively in 2002 and 2003. In 2016, his work was the subject of an exhibition at Miami’s Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU. Last year, Rodriguez and his husband Thoms Tolan became the fathers of twins shortly before Rodriguez decided to take his show off the runway and into the intimacy of his Gramercy Park design studio for the spring and fall 2018 seasons, two collections that exhibited all of precision and laser focus he’s built in the last 20 years.