Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall Show

What is Black, White, & (Garnet) Red All Over?

Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2012 Collection
(All photos Style.com)

This is obviously the most festive time in New York but, let’s face it, the results can be more tinseltown and tawdry than anything else. That said, nowhere is it still more luxuriously and elegantly festive than on Park Avenue, so I suppose it was fitting that Oscar de la Renta showed his luxuriously and elegantly festive pre-fall 2012 collection, a study in black, white (ivory really), and garnet red (down to the model’s nail polish), at 583 Park Avenue yesterday at 12 Noon.

While Oscar has been using his relatively new 42nd Street showroom for his formal shows, he wisely went back to the beautiful, elegant, and quite stately space at 583 Park Avenue. He also changed the seating so that it not only better resembled a runway space, but making 4 sections of three rows guaranteed that all the guests would have a good view of the 58 piece collection.

Of course, pre-fall is a growing “season” and more and more designers are staging formal or informal presentations for members of the press and buyers. Just a few months away from the “real deal” (Mercedes Benz Fashion Week begins February), it is always timed with the advent of the holidays, and there is no other designer whose unapologetically dressed-to-the-nines and whose luxurious aesthetic is so in sync with this season than Oscar de la Renta.

Basically, the collection was chock-a-block with ODLR’s signatures and trademarks which his customers have come to know and love. There were the beloved tweed skirt suits, and mixed media tweed dresses; the beautiful blouses; the decidedly dressed up cabled cardigans and knitwear; the statement making coats; the gorgeous embroideries; the sequins; the patchwork; the use of lace; the luxe fabric, pattern, and texture mixes; the butter soft leathers; the art inspired bold color blocks and abstract prints; the perfect little black dresses (many shortened to above the knee) and entrance making gowns in platine, gold, and bronze.

Almost everything was accessorized with MAJOR bijoux: there were earrings, rings, necklaces, brooches, made of Russian gold, amethyst, garnet, topaz, crystal; black and white enamel bangles; jewel encrusted clutch bags and bejeweled crocodile equestrian belts. Patricia Underwood’s jaunty hats added to the mood. But perhaps the most fun idea was Oscar’s witty interpretation of traditional waspy menswear staples: they might have looked like a tasseled loafer or a traditional Belgian loafer (complete with contrast piping and demure bow) in front, but in the back, there was the surprise of seeing an ultra feminine high heeled mule.

Other nice surprises: Black and ivory, always a fashion insiders’ favorite combo, looked especially effective thanks to the employment of interesting and graphic combinations; a terrific ivory and black patchwork wool cloque coat utilized the technique of trompe l’oeil, which gave it the appearance of a jacket and skirt in the back; drop waists appeared on a number of dresses and skirts; furs were used rather sparingly (for Oscar, anyway!). And when they showed up, they had a sportif feeling, exempflied by a cafe au lait raccoon hooded shawl and a golden fox knit hooded vest with functional pockets (by the way, it was so warm yesterday, most of the show attendees – including Anna Wintour, were not wearing furs)

There were sporty and casual cabled sweaters, cardigans, and hoodies looked anything but (how about a gold cabaret sequined knit hoodie shown over a platine sequin and tweed embroidered dress, anyone?); unusual, unexpected combinations abounded (a bronze rustico jacquard embroidered 3/4 coat was ‘thrown’ over a clemetine silk taffeta pleated midcalf dress); and a group of relatively simple and supremely graceful crimped pleated gowns in coral, pink, and black, plus a black silk crinkle chiffon cascade gown, proved that yes, simplicity is still the definition of sophistication.

In the meanwhile, later this morning I am attending a press preview for “Joaquin Sorolla & The Glory of Spanish Dress” at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute (http://www.queensofiaspanishinstitute.org/ ), hosted by Oscar de la Renta & Inmaculada de Habsburgo together with André Leon Tally. I’ll be curious to see how the designer’s recent work was inspired by what is on display.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.


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