Never one to fall victim to contrived inspirations, fickle color statements, passing fancies, or ubiquitous trends—Oscar de la Renta has one presiding, overridingly consistent theme—to make a woman look her very best! He’s said that he doesn’t dictate trends, but instead that women dictate trends to him. (Frankly, I think Mr. de la Renta is being a bit modest.)
Mr. de la Renta noted backstage that a woman’s power lies in her femininity and that is a tremendous asset. It is that blend of strength, grace, elegance, and empowerment upon which his sophisticated (brand and this season’s) collection was built. There seemed to be something here for everyone amongst the 62 looks, spanning age groups, occasions, and silhouettes, whether billowy and dramatic, like the opening looks—embroidered bodices paired with voluminous and vivid taffeta gowns in shades of marigold, emerald, and tomato red, respectively or more fitted looks like tweed skirt suits and elegant sheaths for both day and evening. While white was predominantly featured on the Spring 2012 Runways, the highly saturated palette of daffodil, chartreuse, cobalt, and begonia revitalized the designer’s signature embroideries and lace.
Moving away from the tony Park Avenuechurch, where he has been showing for the past several seasons, to a new midtown showroom overlooking Bryant Park, the unfinished rough-hewn space provided the perfect clean slate of a backdrop to the masterfully tailored pieces. Justin Timberlake, Ashley Olsen, Nicki Manaj, Barbara Walters, and Valentino were flanked on either side of the narrow front row to enjoy the beautiful show, up close and personal. The Led Zeppelin soundtrack and wild, frizzy hair seemed to suggest a 70’s connotation, but once again the chivalrous designer proved that his ensembles are classically timeless.
The looks from the Oscar de la Renta Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Runway Presentation that prompted my strongest VISCERAL reaction included: the marigold silk taffeta gown with black tulle floral embroidered caraco; the emerald silk taffeta gown with a black Battenberg lace and broderie anglaise bodice; the white hand-cut floral embroidered cotton ottoman coat dress with superpose appliqué and black leather metal plate belt; the daffodil silk crinkle chiffon ruffled blouse, crochet bolero, and poppy embroidered skirt; the begonia silk gauze bowtie blouse, ivory organza diamond crochet embroidered skirt suit; the rose Millais poppy print silk gauze tiered ruffle dress with cognac leather belt; the metallic braided lame and superpose flower embroidered top with clay taffeta skirt; and the daffodil silk faille Rossetti floral embroidered gown with slashed blousant sleeves and white tulle trim.
Insider gossip: I overheard an insider telling a guest that at lunch, only six hours earlier, Mr. de la Renta was concerned that he didn’t have enough straight dresses; naturally, he had his seamstresses prepare a few more options to keep the collection balanced and one of those dresses was actually shown during this runway presentation, because when Oscar de la Renta speaks, we all wait with baited breath on the edge of our seats to hear what he has to say and to see what stunning creations he will unveil next…
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