The annual Oscar de la Renta fashion show and luncheon presented by Saks Fifth Avenue at Lake Tahoe on Saturday, a highlight of the Northern California summer social season, raised a record $862,460 for the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
Designer Peter Copping, who showed his resort 2016 and bridal collections, was making his first appearance at the lake, mingling with socialites Barbara Brown, Jean Larette, Marissa Mayer, Daniel Diaz, Carolyn Chang and Stephanie Marver.
A parade of ballgowns and embroidered cocktail dresses was presented post-lunch on a raised runway overlooking a private beach on the lake shore. But before the fashion show, Alex and Eliza Bolen gave a tribute to Oscar de la Renta, who had shown his collections annually at Lake Tahoe for 19 years.
“This was Oscar’s favorite event each year, and he loved the tradition of seeing his clients and relaxing here with old friends,” said Alex Bolen, before introducing Copping to warm applause.
For Copping, the weekend came with high expectations.
“Oscar embraced the heritage of raising funds to protect Lake Tahoe,” the designer said. “He felt very proud of helping to maintain the beauty of this landmark.”
Copping flew in for the fundraiser from Milan, where he had been conducting research and new fabric development. After a trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco on Tuesday, he was due to head back to New York to work on his spring collection, which will be shown on Sept. 15.
Dede Wilsey, who has been attending the event since 1981, said she loved the new energy Copping brought to the label, and had fond memories of the event’s early days.
“Bill Blass, who founded the event 46 years ago, was a fellow houseguest and he said to me, ‘We’re going to be great friends and we are never going to discuss clothes.’ He thought that a denim skirt and casual blouse tied at the waist, not designed by him, was the perfect attire for the show in those barefoot, very informal days at the lake,” she said.
After Blass died, Wilsey persuaded de la Renta to continue the fundraiser.
“Oscar and I had been friends since 1963 when he came to Newport to present his collection for Elizabeth Arden. He graciously agreed,” she recalled. “At Tahoe last year, Oscar’s final, he told me how much he thought I would like the new designer, Peter Copping. Peter’s new collections epitomize Oscar, with a fresh viewpoint. Oscar not only chose Peter to interpret his designs, he chose him to be our friend. And Oscar chose well.”