A Last Resort

photos to follow this morning

I know that it’s not exactly a revelation when I say that many of us online fashion editors are often treated like second class citizens, but this one takes the cake. Several weeks ago, when it occurred to me that I had not yet received my invite to the June 1st Oscar de la Renta Resort 2010 Show, I emailed Paul Wilmot just to double check and make sure that I was in fact on the press list. When I didn’t hear back, I emailed the appropriate person, saying I understood if they are packed to the hilt but I would take ‘standing’ if they had it, and received this response: “I just double checked with the team at ODLR and unfortunately, we are not going to be able to accommodate you for the show this year”. Say What? A resort show I can’t get into? I can’t even get ‘standing’? I weigh probably not much more than 107 pounds, so I hardly take up much room. Do you mean to tell me they can’t find a place to ‘accommodate’ my thin body? Nonsense! Actually, it wasn’t that surprising, since they were unable to accommodate my request to cover the fall winter show back in February (and there were two back to back presentations no less).

I’ve known Oscar for decades, and have covered him since the 1970’s, when I was a young fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar (he is not only a gentleman and a class act, but a wonderful designer with great taste). I have never had difficulty getting into one of his shows until just recently. It’s hard to imagine, especially in these troubled times with so many divisive factors out of our control, (not to mention far more serious problems and issues around the world than the superficial ones routinely found in fashion), that there are those within the fashion community, whose thoughtless and selfish exclusionary actions (or inactions), can result in unnecessarily sabotaging one’s ability to simply do one’s job. Shouldn’t we all be trying to help one another out????

Be that as it may, I decided to show up at 583 Park Avenue (Oscar’s venue of choice) yesterday morning, since I have always noticed that regardless of what the powers that be might have you think, there are invariably empty seats at ALL fashion shows, including highly anticipated high ticket ones. Upon entering the lobby, I was warmly greeted by an old colleague from my Harper’s Bazaar days, who didn’t even ask to see a ticket, (just assuming I had one), and whisked me in just minutes before the show started. I looked around the room and low and behold, there were not just a few, but plenty of empty seats all over, and not only in the last row, where “Reserved” signs were posted to the backs. (I don’t know who they were ‘reserved’ for, but they never showed up).

And so, the first show kicked off what will invariably shape up to be a surprisingly full blown (Recession be Damned!) resort week in New York (with many formal showings all around town). Of course, the term ‘resort’ is a throw back and really doesn’t mean clothes to take away on a cruise, or vacation, as it did eons ago. Nowadays, ‘resort’ is just another reason to show yet another collection of clothes, and hopefully, they will be seasonless enough, classic enough, wearable enough, fabulous enough, special enough, and “gotta have it” enough, to entice the customer to reach into her wallet. Mr. de la Renta’s was a decidedly chic, dressed up, sophisticated, yet youthful approach to resort dressing, (with an emphasis on the interesting rich mixes and accessories that define ‘Parisian’ style).

It was hard not to notice the nod to Coco Chanel, and an underlying maritime theme which came courtesy all the navy, navy and white, graphic and crisp stripes, (often punched up with red accents), and of course, knockout swimsuits, some shown with matching embroidered coats or hand painted trenches. Familiar territory for sure, and not exactly the first time Oscar has gone this route, but it happened to look especially good this time.

In addition to boucle, tulle, ribbon and checked tweed jackets (some of which were cropped and boxy, others lean and elongated), tweed dresses, and tweed skirt suits (which were often accessorized with berets to emphasize the notion of French dressing), there was lots of dark crisp indigo denim (including a wide legged jean), beautiful and ‘important’ white rose ruffle front blouses, an abundance of prints (landscape, brushstroke, block, tie dye), and of course, embroidery throughout. With the exception of about 9 or 10 floor length mousseline, sponge crepe, double georgette, silk organza, silk faille dresses which comprised the finale, (and several pants outfits mixed in to the 49 piece collection) everything else was sassy and short (meaning, above the knee), and dresses, especially, were emphasized in an assortment of shapes, bearing a variety of necklines (one shoulder, strapless, etc.)

To further the youthful and unapologetically ‘je ne sais pas quoi’ French spirit, Fogal’s sheer black or white stockings, seemingly cut off and rolled down at the ankles, were worn beneath high heeled black or white water snake embroidered, satin pearl encrusted, suede studded, gold metallic leather, or patent leather open toe slingbacks or sandals. Speaking of bling….….the ubiquitous use of the rather over the top and fancy footwear, bejeweled and mirrored belts, massive stone encrusted bibs, wide cuffs, and metallic python clutch bags, resulted in a blurring of the lines between what was day and what was evening (an ongoing trend).

-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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