The wildly frizzed hair that flew back as the models walked suggested Seventies; the three billowing ballgowns under lace tops that opened the show, Eighties (the good part). But 60-some exits later, a fair conclusion was that Oscar de la Renta’s finest hour might be right now.
Never a champion of restraint, for spring de la Renta offered a joy fest that was as beautiful and exuberant as it was diverse. Various parts will appeal not only to women of different ages, but different types — proper ladies, debutantes, sex pots, even girls with a Bohemian streak.
In an era dominated by hyper-focused shows, de la Renta’s belief in presenting a full range of round-the-clock clothes unencumbered by such unifying irritations as a signature print or overarching theme felt fresh, even though he’s been doing it for years. What was consistent: the connoisseurship of thought and execution; the signature flamboyance: the delight with which the clothes were created and worn (the girls looked happy!). But then, what woman wouldn’t love one of the numerous pristine handkerchief lace dresses? Maybe one of less demure proclivities. For her, a silk organza crochet suit, vibrant pink lamb jacket over snappy wide-legged pants or a frothy canary yellow deep-V blouse with racy embroidered skirt.
The wealth of embellishments were lavish: airy organza appliqués to sassy allover tassels and major sequin encrustations. These ebbed and flowed by day and into the night, when de la Renta sent out an array of stunners, from serene to sizzling. Nevertheless, after the show, all de la Renta wanted to talk about was the hair. “Every single girl who came to see me had hair that was plastered to their heads,” he explained. “It was so lacquered it was like cement. I said to them, ‘If you have a boyfriend, he wouldn’t want to touch your head with hair like that.’” Spoken like a true ladies man.