Oscar’s French Kiss

Photo: Randy Brooke

Hours before many of the fashion flock would show up at Lincoln Center to celebrate the annual CFDA Awards in high style, there were several resort/cruise 2011 presentations held at different parts of town. Oscar de la Renta apparently had France on his mind (down to Worth & Worth’s jaunty straw boaters) when he conceived of resort 2011, which was presented at 583 Park Avenue on Monday afternoon. Simply put, it was pure ‘Oscar’ in that unmistakable way that is très chic, très rafinee, and très elegant, with new takes on many of the tried and true staples, signatures and favorite standbys that have come to symbolize Mr. DLR. And hey, what’s wrong with that formula?

Photo: Randy Brooke

Relying on a predominantly, très French, seaside inspired color palette with an emphasis on navy and white, (with touches of black, khaki, espresso, cinnabar, burgundy, kelly, coral, and azure), there were also plenty of prints and patterns (Oscar’s signature ikats, a jigsaw print, a kaleidoscope print, a black and white ‘melange’ print, a graphic ‘Matisse’ inspired pattern that was called ‘Henry’, and polka dots). It was quite textural with plenty of surface interest, and it was happily anything but minimal (which seems to be the ‘buzz’ word these days).

Among the 55 pieces shown were abbreviated and boxy cardigan jackets (many of which were embroidered and trimmed with ribbon or guipure), ribbon knit sweaters (both of which were shown over dresses or pleated skirts), narrow black and white diamond tweed skirt suits, white silk crepe de chine and crinkle chiffon blouses, navy and white striped cashmere knits, full skirted silk faille dresses with silk organza and chiffon ruffles, graphic border trimmed dresses, multi colored ‘Henry’ print silk georgette strapless gowns, floor length silk taffeta and organza strapless flamenco gowns, silk organza ribbon embroidered gowns with tulle underlay, metallic embroidered dresses.

Photo: Firstview.com

And while it was undeniably all about the ‘luxe’ quotient (lots of embroidery, guipure trim, the use of exquisite jewelry, alligator belts, etc.), it was tempered with the ‘humble’. And so along with white leather which appeared in the form of a wrap dress that was shown under a white double face wool crepe coat with espresso embroidery, there was the ‘surprise’ of denim: a white crepe de chine banded dress with navy blockprint was shown beneath a white denim tweed jacket with black denim tweed trim, and a below the knee length navy dip dyed cotton madras ikat sundress was worn under a cropped chambray and denim jacket. Another interesting combination was the use of khaki and bronze degrade silk on a narrow dress that fell just below the knee and boasted a bra top, which was worn under a bronze silk cropped cardigan.

Photo: Randy Brooke

While legs were on display in the kaleidoscope and woodblock printed swimsuits and in several white cotton sateen short shorts (one was paired with an easy dolman sleeved white and navy striped cashmere silk cowl knit top and another, with a menswear inspired black and white diamond tweed blazer), the skirt lengths for daytime were noticeably longer this season, hovering just above the knee or longer (several skirts and dresses were midcalf), and Oscar, who has never been one to endorse heavy, clumpy footwear, made a case for the return of the ladylike and elegant pointy toed shoe, whether in the form of a kitten heeled pump, or sky high sling back.

-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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