THE WIDE WORLD OF OSCAR ONLINE

Byline: Leonard McCants

NEW YORK — Oscar de la Renta launched into cyberspace this week with a Web site dedicated to familiarizing the world about everything Oscar.
The Web site, oscardelarenta.com, uses Flash animation to allow images to move in and out of view and includes photos of the current women’s ready-to-wear collection and an archive of past seasons’ collections.
Further links are provided about de la Renta’s philanthropic work, his gardening and the Dominican Republic, his native country.
“The information is all about getting to know the lifestyle of Oscar de la Renta,” said Adam Lippes, vice president and creative director.
The Web site’s launch comes as several designer fashion houses, like Giorgio Armani and Diane Von Furstenberg, are making major pushes into the Internet world and others — Christian Dior and Ralph Lauren — have Web sites under construction.
“I want people to get to know Oscar de la Renta better,” Lippes said. “What he’s about and who he is, but also it’s getting your message out there.”
While no e-commerce element is yet in the works, there are plans to add streaming video of fashion shows, for example, an archive from 30 years of de la Renta’s designs and an interactive section where Web surfers will be able to discuss issues with the designer.
“As we go, we’ll keep adding to it,” Lippes said. “We’re going to update this on a monthly basis.”
In an effort to tie the Internet presence to the direction and images of recent collections, the background colors will change as the seasons change. Currently, platinum, gold, yellow and orange move about, while navigating the Web site’s many layers.
Adding a further dimension is a loungy, trip-hop soundtrack, which differs in the men’s and women’s sections.
“It’s fun fashion show music,” Lippes explained. “It adds movement, and makes it more exciting for people to watch.”
The current Web incarnation stems from eight months of prep work and a preliminary Internet presence where visitors answered a questionnaire about what they wanted in a Web site.
“We got thousands of responses from literally all over the world,” he said.
But also, Lippes got pressured to do a full-scale Web site from his boss. One might be surprised at de la Renta’s technical know-how, Lippes said.
“Oscar’s more technical than I am,” he said. “He uses a Palm Pilot and the computer all day. And he’s constantly e-mailing everyone.”

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