Oscar de la Renta's off-season presentations (the few that I went to) were easily my favorites. Not because there were far less editors there — there were — but because de la Renta himself would sit alongside us and talk through the collection.
So his absence at the house's pre-fall collection showing was perhaps especially keen. "It's been an emotional few days for us," Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta and son-in-law of the late designer, said in the moments before the first look came out. "Oscar loved nothing more than the prep for a show" — the lunch the weekend before, the "obligatory fight over music," the worry that there wouldn't be enough things in the collection for Mrs. de la Renta to wear. "But no one more embodied 'the show must go on,'" he added.
Work on the collection began in August, and de la Renta worked "until his last few days," said Bolen — thus, the pre-fall collection was very much his own. Because Oscar de la Renta's new creative director, Peter Copping, only officially started a few weeks ago, the house's studio director, Laura Kim, was the one to introduce the collection. She said it began with lunch in de la Renta's garden; they were particularly inspired by the deep reds of the tomatoes, seen in looks seven through 10.
As with all de la Renta's collections, pre-fall was a mix of the old and the new. There were flounces and peplums and pencil skirts, party dresses with full skirts and tiny waists, and ball gowns with even bigger skirts, beautifully embroidered with flowers. But there were also wide-legged trousers, pleated and cut above the ankle; sleeveless coats in burgundy leather and camel hair and navy wool faced with green; and flats: specifically, pointed loafers in metallic blue and gold and delicate, pointed ballet flats adorned with bows, all of which (ballet flats excepted) had a more relaxed, downtown feel.
But the most memorable — and sheer prettiest — of the looks was one of the most traditional: a navy strapless gown with tiers of silver-embroidered tulle that looked like a night sky filled with stars.