It’s not often that one gets an invitation to hang out with a legendary designer at his country home, but that’s exactly what happened yesterday when a group of beauty editors was welcomed into Oscar de la Renta‘s quiet spread in Connecticut.
The occasion? The launch of the first perfume developed completely under his control since the house won back its fragrance license last year after a long, expensive battle with former partners. Most perfume launches don’t enjoy such a personal and heartfelt celebration, but this one was particularly special to Oscar, his family, and the company. While Esprit d’Oscar, a reinterpretation of the original Oscar scent was sent into the world with an appropriate amount of fanfare, the new fragrance, called “Live in Love” is obviously the designer’s statement to the world of beauty that he’s back.
The scent launches in October, and will include a body lotion ($49-$98). Like most things Oscar designs, this fragrance is for women, not girls. It’s a sophisticated green floral, and after being thoroughly spritzed upon walking onto the lovely patio, I can report that it dries down to a lovely, subtle, musky finish.
As for the campaign? Rather than throw another pretty celebrity into the already celeb-littered fragrance ad landscape, Oscar wanted his ads to be memorable, and to be instantly recognizable “when you cover up the picture of the bottle.” The solution? An old-school stylized sketch of a woman, a throwback to how beauty products were advertised in the 50s and 60s. It manages to look completely modern, and one of the editors pointed out that the woman looked like Erika Bearman (aka @OscarPRgirl) (who was at the lunch and absolutely killing it in a pair of navy high-waisted palazzo pants).
At lunch with Oscar, who is quite effusive and chatty (and is clearly at an age where he no longer really cares what he says), he kept the table in stitches while regaling us with stories. He celebrated his 79th birthday last week, but said, “I hate celebrations. A birthday means something only before 15 and after 90.” But he received a surprise gift this year, courtesy of Anna Wintour. Further fueling our suspicion that this Vogue archive might actually be happening, Oscar told us that Anna gave him a leather-bound book containing every single picture of every Oscar de la Renta garment that has ever appeared in Vogue. With a 30+ year career under his belt, the Vogue team obviously had to dig deep into the archives. There were also letters from his wife, Anna, and celeb fans like Hillary Clinton and SJP.
Oscar’s also throwing some resources and creativity at his beauty business to keep up with his successful fashion line, which has seen a resurgence lately, with everyone from starlets to A-listers wearing his designs. We can expect more fragrances in the near future, as well as *gasp* a nail and lipstick line. Can you imagine how gorgeous this will be?