Oscar de la Renta opened his show with a trio of swimsuits in graphic color blocks. A sign that he’s taking a turn toward architectural edge? Not quite, but an indication that he’s just as comfortable dressing Cindy McCain as his old friend Hillary. De la Renta is willing — make that eager — to reach out to women on every side of the fashion aisle.

Within reason. De la Renta is among the few major designers who still believe in the notion of appropriateness. He dresses women who enjoy looking like ladies, and they love him for it. This spring, they’ll be all atwitter over the wealth of beautiful options at the ready, as he went variously floufy or slim, decorative or stark, gussied up or sportif. Perhaps his biggest news was a full, rustling skirt with a hem that bunched at one side for added volume. He showed the shape for day and evening, including one with a perfect light-as-air hand-knit cardigan, cinched at the waist. On that topic, de la Renta is on the waisted trend big time, via a particular penchant for wide belts. But if a gal prefers a shift, so be it — she can turn heads in vibrant poppy silk and wool spliced with pink, or in a spectacular navy dress inset with major white embroidery. Or she can opt for one of his fabulous little black dresses. Discreet, perhaps, but also siren seductive paired with those naughty black lace booties. Because Oscar works both sides of the aisle.

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