Oscar de la Renta at his best — and that means pretty fabulous! The collection the designer showed on Wednesday sparkled with an elegant eclecticism, a veritable de la Renta primer sure to delight all the ladies for whom the designer is the undisputed King of Chic.
De la Renta opened with a slick riff on safari, magnifying its impact with big sleeves and vibrant teal silk. This signaled a take on the season’s emerging au naturel trend. Except that chez Oscar, rough has its limits; his ladies don’t aspire to fake undone. Thus, he suggested the mood with earthy tones worked into ultraurbane pieces: a bronze linen trench; a lavishly embroidered tulle skirt. He also went gentler, with lovely dresses including those in gazar and crepe (the ladies will likely take a few editorial inches off those cut well below the knee), a “threadwork” printed sheath, and a crocheted teal beauty that played like the best thing ever concocted out of the doily drawer. Suits? Of course. Happily, however, de la Renta left the basics in the showroom in favor of distinctive gems in embroidered beigy tweed and black-and-white organza. He also gave a clear nod to the younger set with pristine eyelets, frothy shorts and a dress cut like a schoolgirl’s uniform, only in hyacinth silk.
Throughout, de la Renta refused to let the economic climate impose dullness on his mind-set or his designs. This was especially true of evening when his Latin tendencies were in full flower, both in flashes of color — grand gowns in fuchsia and red — and in a moodier passage of delicate tulle and chiffon gowns accessorized with lace mantillas in homage to Goya, or perhaps to his beloved mother and sisters, who no doubt wore such veilings to mass back when. Either way, they were exquisite.