SAN FRANCISCO — Oscar de la Renta was in a jovial mood during a visit here earlier this month and for good reason.

It wasn’t just the record number of guests — 570 — who gathered at an historic estate overlooking Lake Tahoe for an annual fashion show and benefit luncheon that kept him smiling. The trunk show that followed generated $600,000 in sales. Presented by Saks Fifth Avenue, the event benefited The League to Save Lake Tahoe and was held at the home of Mara and J.J. Fritz.

De la Renta has had two Saks-sponsored trunk shows in San Francisco since May for a grand total of $1.2 million in sales — marking the first time the designer has broken $1 million at a trunk show outside New York.

“I loved seeing grandmothers, mothers and young daughters crowding the trunk show afterwards,” de la Renta said. “It's a great way for me to connect with my clients.”

The trunk show tally no doubt further lifted the designer’s mood. A $34,000 shearling coat and a $7,000 mink hobo bag were among the bestsellers, said Alex Bolen, who recently succeeded his father-in-law, de la Renta, as chief executive officer.

A few days later, Fred Wilson, chairman and ceo of Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, toasted de la Renta at a lunch at Saks’ downtown flagship here. Afterward, Wilson and his team headed for Los Angeles for a meeting with architect Frank Gehry.

“We have a great rapport with Gehry. He’s a genius,” said Wilson. “We hope to work with him on redesigning existing stores and conceptualizing new ones. We have great respect for his work, and trust we can go forward with him.”

— Dianne Dorrans Saeks

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