#SuzyNYFW: Oscar de la Renta, Prepped For a New Generation
The idea of a new generation of designers keeping their own line while giving a fillip to an established brand is relatively familiar.
It can work – as in the case of 30-something Jonathan Anderson, who is the Creative Director and Designer at Loewe, as well as his own JW Anderson line. But it is a concept fraught with difficult decisions. For example, the challenge facing Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, who have created a quirky image for their Monse brand, playing this season with gender-neutral clothes.
There was not much of that off-kilter spirit in the designers’ other day job at Oscar de la Renta. But they have brightened and lightened the legacy, creating a vision of summer with beautiful silk fabrics crafted into glamorous gowns. But they are, in this day and age, more likely to be worn by loyal follower Nicki Minaj than the children (or grandchildren) of the founder’s followers on the Upper East Side.
As if to underline the fact that the collection is now for a wider audience, the show was held on the rooftop of the way-downtown Spring Street Studios.
The show opened with a hint of Moroccan exotica and lush growth from the Dominican Republic, de la Renta’s place of birth. That meant drapes of what, from a distance, seemed like North African prints, decorated with fringe. Predictably, the gender fluidity in the duo’s own collection was not the message here.
Yet Kim and Garcia are making a fairly successful marriage between old and new.
The programme, with its intense detail and tiny print, was very old school. A coat with a bold flower print – a vision we have seen since the newbies’ first collection two years ago – read, “Ecru dyed lamb coat with Silk Road thread-work embroidery, flower pot woven cotton-linen crochet dress”, followed by two more explanatory lines.
Yet in every other way, the show seemed to loosen up, with a mix of floral patterns on a silk dress that grazed the body.
How exactly do Kim and Garcia see themselves in the wide world of dressing up? Would they like to face off Dolce & Gabbana with the brand’s passion for florals? Would they hope to take on Valentino with their version of loose-fitting outfits? Or perhaps challenge Dior’s bodice shapes?
In spite of a lack of originality, there were still some appealing clothes. A navy tailored jacket and knife-pleated dress with a triangle pattern near the hem looked young and fresh. And those are surely the two words that define success in bringing a long-established brand to new life.