We've always found Oscar de la Renta's collections to be lovely, in that safe, uptown-upscale, women-of-a-certain-age kind of way. Which is to say, we've always admired the designer's talent and taste, but have never coveted a single one of his creations, finding them to be a bit too old-fashioned, too old-money and too much, well - how to put it? - our grandmother's Oldsmobile.
But all that changed yesterday when de la Renta presented his fall 2007 collection in The Tent at Bryant Park. From first look to last, it was as if someone had taken de la Renta's Upper East Side creations and dosed them with a shot of Meatpacking District cool, dusting the cobwebs off the House That Oscar Built and breathing fresh new life into a tired old design dog.
The show opened with a poet sleeved sweater and slick tweed skirt ensemble topped by an attitudinal floppy sable hat (hel-lo, my pretty!), and what followed was a wonder to behold. There was Jessica Stam strutting by in a laminated wool tweed jacket and black satin tights accessorized with predatory Wolverine boots and ginormous trapper hat. Laminated tweed also turned up on a long coat trimmed with yet more Wolverine, followed by Hye Park in a cap sleeve burgundy wool bouclé dress that hovered around her hips like a seventh-grade suitor at his first boy-girl dance.
De la Renta streamlined a traditional black peacoat to modern effect, and did the same with a shearling anorak with knit cashmere sleeves. His evening looks took a similarly unexpected turn, as in a black sequined t-shirt paired with a girlie tulle skirt and cool white shoes, and several dresses with their big portrait collars pulled up to one side.
There were also wonderfully inventive fabrics, such as an embroidered black/white/red cocktail dress whose pattern recalled a cityscape at night, and a black-on-black cocktail dress that shimmered like fresh asphalt after a rainstorm.
All told, de la Renta's fall collection was the epitome of uptown luxe. But this time around, downtown types will want in on the action, too.
Photos © Gg/The Bigger Picture Pictures. For additional, larger images from this show, click here