What’s old is new again. Or such is the case for Oscar de la Renta creative directors Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, who were in Los Angeles Tuesday for the 30th annual Colleagues Spring Luncheon in Beverly Hills, the old guard charity event that the late designer Oscar de la Renta had partnered with for decades. This year marked a first for the event, which each year honors a philanthropist with the Champion of Children award. This year’s honoree was actress Jane Seymour but Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton Rothschild also presented the Oscar de la Renta duo with an award for their contribution to American design.
“I feel like we’re too young to get awards,” Kim said. “We have a lot still to achieve,” added Garcia as the two were getting ready for the festivities at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in their upstairs suite. Kim was still wearing denim trousers and a boyfriend button-down, and her nylon fanny pack was on the couch.
“I’ve never wanted to go to Coachella, but that was before Beyoncé,” she said, referencing the accessory of choice for the festival. “I’ve been once, but that’s when it was a bit more…low-key,” Garcia said. “I was like, ‘What are you, 16?'” laughed Kim at the memory.
The duo said they’ve now found their groove balancing design duties at Oscar de la Renta and their own line Monse. “We go to Oscar de la Renta in the morning, and then Monse in the afternoon. The subway ride of two stops is actually a good way to clear our minds and ‘travel’ to another place.”
Since they’ve both had a decade under de la Renta’s tutelage, they said merchandising comes just as easily as design. “We learned from Oscar, and we’ve been listening to what women want and how they live, so that’s why we’re making more pieces that can be worn for evening without being a cocktail dress. There’s a lot more suiting and knits,” Garcia said.
“With social media you can really see what women are wearing and what they like — they show everything on there. I sometimes feel like they buy more clothes just so they can have more content,” Kim laughed. “But as long as they’re buying more clothes, that’s good for us.”
The two decided to forgo visiting their Melrose Place boutique — where they are now neighbors with Hedi Slimane and his new Céline design studio in the old Violet Grey space — in favor of taking in the David Hockney show at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty Villa. “We’re designers who never go to museums,” Kim said. “We need to make time to do more cultural things.” The two gave the thumbs-up to the Hockney exhibit, a series of new paintings the artist created for LACMA, including self-portraits. Said Kim, “I love that he wears so much color.”