Oscar de la Renta Resort Presentation

The Last Resort

Oscar de la Renta Resort Collection
black & white flocked dot tweed shorts
and coat with stretch knit bandeau
(All photos: Style.com)

We are in the throes of resort season, with designer showings both formal and informal being staged around town: and not just in Manhattan, but Brooklyn (the Dior resort 2015 show was held at the Brooklyn Navy Yards a few weeks ago). But let’s face it, the word ‘resort’ has long seemed like a misnomer; it’s rather outdated, arcane, irrelevant for our times. An old fashioned label if ever there was one, harking back to the old days (and I hate to admit it, but I think I was there LOL).

Hot pink silk faille dress with gold
and silver buillion filigree and multi color flower embroidery

Oscar de la Renta is one designer who agrees, and he had the perfect opportunity to “vent”, during the course of three intimate presentations that were held yesterday, in his West 42nd street atelier. Looking elegant, debonair, and impeccably dressed as always, he did not stay behind the scenes as he normally does during his formal showings, but came out and sat in the front row next to his step daughter Eliza Reed Bolen (who is a walking embodiment of his label as she is so chic and always looks so perfect in his designs), and myself. Others at the 2 PM presentation (there were no assigned seats) were The New York Times’ Kate Lanphear, Style Director ‘T’ Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar’s editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey who could not contain her enthusiasm and animatedly applauded at intervals (especially during the finale, featuring a parade of amazing black lace dresses and spectacular multi-color flower embroidered and English Garden silk gowns). She encouraged the attendees to follow suit, saying “c’mon, let’s acknowledge fabulousness”.

Black tulle cocktail dress
with grosgrain ribbon and cord embroidery

I remarked to Oscar that I thought showing in this manner, to small groups of people, was so ‘civilized’, and joked that at the very least, he wouldn’t have to worry about large groups of people getting stuck in the elevators as they did in February (both he and Eliza smiled knowingly, recalling the fall/winter 2014 show during which time Andre Leon Talley, and others, got stuck in the elevator going down).

He began addressing the editors: “I have a mental problem with the name of the collection, “resort”. The clothes hit the stores in mid-November and it is the one season where they remain on the racks the longest, before being discounted. It’s a very big season and a very important one.” And then he asked rhetorically: “What exactly ARE resort clothes? They are clothes women pack and take away to resorts”. He continued “there are about 200 pieces in this collection but I’m not going to make you sit through all of it, as we did many years ago before most of you were even born (he joked). This is a capsule of what the collection is”. He also noted that there is a big emphasis on the shoes (pointy toed Sabrina and high heels, and sandals), which are very important, and asked everyone to pay close attention as he is working with a new shoe designer Daniel Lawler.

Navy lurex moire faille bandeau top and shorts

When I asked Oscar what he would call it instead of resort, he didn’t know but suggested maybe the collections should just be numbered: Collection 1, Collection 2, Collection 3, etc.. Let’s face it, “resort” is just another collection offering women a reason to fill in their wardrobes and buy something new. And, as it is a good barometer of spring, why not call it pre-spring in the same way there is pre-fall? Though, on second thought, I hate the way that sounds as well (it reminds me of preschool).

Black tulle gown with grosgrain
and multi color flower embroidery

Admittedly, resort is hardly a word I would use to describe this particular collection, (unless it’s a fantasy resort conjured up by someone’s fertile imagination), as it was not exactly filled with the kind of easy, laid back, casual clothes most women usually throw in a bag to take to a beach getaway — you know t shirts, shorts, & swimsuits. This was a perfectly accessorized, fully realized and unapologetically dressed up collection. It was hard not to notice an emphasis on evening wear & perfect cocktail dresses and gowns — even if you are suffering from PCJS (Post Charles James Syndrome), and have had enough of them, still look fabulous in Oscar’s adept hands. And when Oscar did show shorts, (he endorsed them actually) they were as dressed up as everything else on the line, and were made of flocked tweed, double face wool crepe, and lurex moiré. FYI, shorts are showing up on some of the best dressed gals about town at high profile soirees in place of pants and dresses. If you have the legs, and are young enough I say, go for it!

Hot pink silk faille gown
with gold buillion filigree embroidery

But if I had to put a label on this particular collection, I’d call it, ‘Quintessential Oscar’, for lack of a better name. The 38 pieces shown on the runway were broken into 6 distinct groups, and it was signature Oscar all the way. There was plenty of black in combination with white and ivory, lots of navy (almost black), and hits of strong color (aqua, peony, tomato red, and hot pink). By the way, Oscar’s hot pink is without a doubt the most vibrant, saturated pink on the planet, and when I mentioned that to him, he smiled and paraphrased Diana Vreeland, “Pink is the navy blue of India”.

Other signatures? Threadwork embroidery, gold and silver bullion filigree, guipure lace and lace overlays, flocked dot and boucle tweeds, viscose stretch knits, Ikat prints, florals and flower embroideries, moire and silk faille, georgette pleats.

Coco Chanel famously said, “A woman should be two things. Classy and fabulous.” If you wear Oscar de la Renta, you cannot help but be both.

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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