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Oscar de la Renta’s Fashion Gets Some Legs

NEW YORK — There’s no longer an excuse for cold feet on Park Avenue: Oscar de la Renta is launching a collection of women’s socks for his Oscar by Oscar de la Renta bridge line.<br><br>For fall, the line features artisan-like details...

NEW YORK — There’s no longer an excuse for cold feet on Park Avenue: Oscar de la Renta is launching a collection of women’s socks for his Oscar by Oscar de la Renta bridge line.

For fall, the line features artisan-like details and luxurious fabrics typical of de la Renta’s ready-to-wear, including silk anklets with tuxedo stripes, paisley or vine-pattern, hand-embroidered floral pima cotton socks, argyle lambswool and ribbed cashmere knee-highs. The colors range from brown, camel and burgundy to ivory and sky blue.

“It’s another extension of the world of Oscar,” said Eliza Bolen, vice president of licensing at Oscar de la Renta. “It’s something for the main floor. We are trying to bring more femininity, color, soft touches and lots of detail.”

Although the company has halved the number of licenses in recent years under the guidance of departing chief executive officer Jeffry M. Aronsson, socks are licensed to Gold Medal Hosiery, a 75-year-old, $40 million manufacturer of such sock lines as Everlast, Clear Creek and Oscar by Oscar de la Renta for men.

“In shopping the retail environment, we felt there was a lack of innovation with luxury fabrics for the customer who is past the junior novelty level,” said Robert Greenberg, vice president of sales at Gold Medal Hosiery.

Pointing to a spring sampling of “no-shows” in Easter-egg colors, he added: “When you think of luxury fabrics, you don’t think of this kind of color palette. Oscar de la Renta is so well known for his use of color and texture, so his feeling relates perfectly to socks.”

Greenberg, who declined to give sales projections, said distribution is geared toward upscale department and specialty stores, with first deliveries scheduled for August. Wholesale prices range from $2 to $5.

For holiday and spring 2004, the line will expand with pastel tones, hand-embroidered silk knits and no-shows in textured acrylic and cotton, along with colors like white, yellow, blue and purple.

“Who needs another sock?” Bolen quipped. “We all have black and gray socks, but why not add something a little different? We are going to offer looks with elements of Oscar de la Renta.”