The pineapple is synonymous with hospitality, warmth — and piña coladas! All welcome thoughts this pandemic winter.
Which is what got Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim thinking back to a particularly campy spring 1992 Oscar de la Renta runway collection while designing their own for pre-fall 2021. Clocking in at 24 minutes (you can find it on YouTube), that Nineties supermodel-packed show was tropical themed (think Carmen Miranda headdresses and banana earrings), set to a meringue beat, and featured Linda Evangelista in a white blazer with a pineapple embroidered on each pocket, a diamond-pattern miniskirt and the coup de grace, a pineapple-shaped turban.
“Years ago, Oscar showed us as a joke this jacket; he wasn’t even proud of this collection, and we were laughing at it. I’m not a big archive person…and neither was Oscar…but we just kind of remembered that and said, ‘Should we do it?'” Kim said.
They did, using the festive fruit as license to play with clothes again, on graphic black-and-white pineapple print wool suiting; tropical-print balloon-sleeve crop tops and corseted mini-shirtdresses, and a black strapless glamour jumpsuit with crystal embroidered bodice mimicking a diamond-pattern motif that was chica, chica boom chic.
“This collection is our way of saying we’re ready for a new normal and the vaccine to kick in and people to be happy and joyful again,” Garcia said.
There were plenty of whimsical details to smile at — hand-crocheting on tops and dresses; jeweled brooches for buttons on cardigans and shirtdresses; sweeping fringes on kimono-sleeve caftans; rick-rack trim on a navy-blue sailor sweater and the sides of cream pants, and modernist black-and-white sequin grid embroideries on dresses with zig-zag hems.
“The pandemic has created a window to be innovative and think about how to make something relevant with the material you have available that can be easily produced,” said Garcia, explaining their creative can-do spirit for addressing the business realities of less demand for event dressing, and fewer resources for materials and trims.
To wit, the duo freshened up an archive wildflower print with hand-drawn dots and stripes, and rendered it in cotton on a fun and flirty, midriff-baring, waist-tied cotton jumpsuit and in taffeta on a fabulous sweep of a high-low gown. A rainbow dot embroidered taffeta bubble dress was another special piece with an eye toward brighter days — and perhaps a return of red carpets — ahead.
“This year, we’ve had better luck with the amazing cover of British Vogue and the attention Dr. Jill Biden got in our floral dress,” Garcia said of the house’s greatest 2020 hits.
So, are the designers spending the holidays whipping up something special for the new First Lady to wear during the inauguration events? “TBD,” Garcia said. Something else to look forward to.