An intimate reception. I've been to de la Renta's fall, spring and resort shows in the past, but this was my first time at a pre-fall preview -- and as far as the shows themselves go, this had to be my favorite. There were only about 15 of us there and de la Renta himself sat front row, looking benignly on as the models came out in his creations, unaccompanied by music, in small groups of four to six. Each model made a brief turn down a shortened runway, and returned to the front, arranging herself in an elegant tableau with the other models before clearing the floor. It didn't feel like a modern day fashion show: Rather, It seemed as if I had travelled in time to a courtier's salon of 60 years past (minus the audience's frequent Instagrams and Bryanboy's click-click-clicking DSLR).
Always, the clothes. Whom in New York makes prettier, more elaborately constructed clothes than de la Renta? (Some of you might argue for Chado Ralph Rucci, but I'm in ODLR's camp.) They are the kind of clothes that make you want to throw over your writing career and go to business school -- just so you can go to lunch in one of these confections on Park Avenue one day.
Particularly strong were the coats, namely: a purple studio coat with bell-shaped sleeves and a filigree appliqué down the front, which also came in a cropped jacket version in green; an edgy, deconstructed black trench in wool, belted on the hips; a black and white tweed coat corded with Chantilly lace so delicate it looked like black cobwebs; and a richly embroidered silk number with a flared, softly pleated skirt and gold leaf embroidery running diagonally across the front. There were also the furs, not shown on the runway but on the racks lining it: chinchilla and mink jackets, one dyed navy, soft as butter to the touch.
Two standouts looks and one awkward gown. One of the most novel looks in the collection was a two-piece black-and-white knit suit whose collar and waist had been knitted to look like chinchilla. It would take a good body to pull off -- the knit was clingy -- but also seemed comfortable. Equally captivating was a gold strapless gown with metal fringe that tinkled with every movement. If you're looking for a dress that will get the attention of everyone in a room, that one is it. The only thing I didn't care for was a half black, half white ball gown, which was cut away awkwardly in the front and adorned with a large, distracting crystal bow brooch. It photographed well, so perhaps we'll still see it on the red carpet.
An unexpected downtown edge. The collection offered plenty of pretty suits and dresses for de La Renta's loyal clientele -- whatever climate and season she might be living in -- but also for the slightly tougher, downtown girl as well. The models all had uniformly dark, short cropped hair. It wasn't something you'd notice against the dresses and skirt suits, but when worn with Oscar's peplumed version of a leather-sleeved black moto jacket, or with the aforementioned deconstructed trench, the girls looked tough.
Click through below to see the full collection.