INCLINE VILLAGE, CA - August 3 - Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim attend Saks Fifth Avenue and Oscar de La Renta Fashion Show to Benefit The League to Save Lake Tahoe 2019 on August 3rd 2019 at Schumaker Home in Incline Village, CA (Photo - Andrew Caulfield for Drew Altizer Photography)

Oscar de la Renta co-creative directors and Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia are slowly immersing themselves in work again, shared Garcia.

“It’s fun to see our team and get back to it,” he said from his home in New York City’s SoHo. “It’s been eerie,” he added, of the atmosphere in the city.

He was in the middle of filming a cooking segment with Kim and The Beatrice Inn’s Angie Mar. They were making fried chicken.

“We’re about to put it in the deep fryer,” Garcia said, following the restaurant’s recipe with help from Mar.

The clip will be found online as part of a three-day initiative to benefit “Keep Tahoe Blue.” Usually held in Lake Tahoe, the luncheon and Oscar de la Renta fashion show is a partnership between Saks Fifth Avenue and the League to Save Lake Tahoe, which works to protect and preserve the lake. Last year, 620 guests were present for its 50th anniversary, adding a record-breaking $1.1 million to the over $20 million collected total. This year, due to COVID-19, it’s going virtual.

“We had our clients’ best interest in mind and felt it was necessary to pivot to a digital event so that they could enjoy the event from the safety of their homes,” said Saks Fifth Avenue chief marketing officer Emily Essner in an exclusive statement.

Laura Kim

Laura Kim filming the virtual cooking session with The Beatrice Inn’s Angie Mar at Fernando Garcia’s New York City home. 

For Garcia and Kim, who have been attending for about 20 years, the trip to Tahoe has become personal. Over the years, they have made close friends in the area and share many memories with the late de la Renta.

“To tell you the truth, for Lake Tahoe, we’re just very big supporters of the organization, because it’s something that Oscar really believed in for many years,” said Garcia. “Engaging with the community there, even if it’s digitally, we felt we had a responsibility to do so. The show must go on, you know?”

The occasion is also an opportunity to expand awareness of the cause and connect with consumers outside of the New York and Los Angeles markets, he continued. “It’s the perfect way to engage with them and listen, learn.”

The public is able to register now for free at with the program kicking off on July 30 and beginning each day at 5 p.m. PDT.

“In addition to an exclusive preview of Oscar de la Renta fashion, guests will experience a closer look at the collections in mini documentaries and get to know the designers on a personal level, through cooking and beauty tutorials [featuring Gucci Westman],” said Essner. “There will also be an online auction, with all proceeds benefiting the league.”

The lineup includes a tribute to de la Renta, a backstage look at last year’s pre-spring 2020 show and a prerecorded question-and-answer session with Garcia and Kim in conversation with Saks fashion director Roopal Patel. The designer duo will offer a peek at their pre-spring 2021 collection while discussing the impact of the pandemic.

“It’s a very different, new way of working,” Garcia said of the adjustment. “And I believe there’s no one answer for the entire community. Every single company should look internally at what is needed in order to move forward, in a smaller way. It’s going to be very individual. I wouldn’t recommend following the status quo. I would just go with showing clothes however you feel you’re going to expect to see your buyers and your customers, at a pace that feels right for your brand.”

The climate pushes creativity, though, he added. “I think newness is going to come out of this, because we’re changing the way we’re working.”

Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim

Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim during the question-and-answer session.  Courtesy