There was a deep poignancy to seeing the final collection Oscar de la Renta worked on before his death in October, but also a resolute sense of grace at a house experiencing the most major of transitions. “The last few days have been very emotional for all of us in different ways,” said Alex Bolen. “But there was nobody more ‘the show must go on’ than Oscar.”
Peter Copping has officially begun his role as creative director. He did not collaborate on pre-fall, though he stopped in to say hello at a private show of the 35-look lineup Tuesday before departing for a “royal engagement,” lunch with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Alex and Eliza Bolen presented the collection with Laura Kim, de la Renta’s studio director, who has been with the company for 11 years. She started the pre-fall design process with de la Renta in August over a tomato-and-mozzarella lunch. “Oscar loved the color of the tomato and the red, so we have a lot of shades of burgundy, orange, red and the blushes,” said Kim, adding that another reference was a portrait of the Maharaja of Indore by Bernard Boutet de Monvel. “He was wearing a white dress with very delicate jewelry and a colorful sash and Oscar liked the color combination of the painting.”
The collection was beautiful, elegant, full of color that was subdued for day and fabulous for evening, yet always impeccably tasteful. In other words, it was classic Oscar, and also modern Oscar. Day clothes, such as a periwinkle double-faced cashgora coat over a lean stretch navy dress, came in clean, luxurious lines. A taut shell with a cutout back worn with cropped wide-leg trousers and flat metallic loafers epitomized contemporary sporty glamour. Evening was a build up, beginning with floral mikado cocktail tops shown with cropped pants and peaking with enchanting tulle gowns: navy shot with silver and champagne with metallic foil splatters.
Kim did an exquisite job under difficult circumstances. De la Renta — who felt very strongly about his design team staying together under his successor — would be proud.