Fashion

02.13.13

In Oscar de la Renta’s Fall Show, Searching for Signs of John Galliano

Oscar de la Renta’s fall collection, which debuted Tuesday, had the subtle effect of John Galliano, who has been apprenticing in his studio. Isabel Wilkinson reports.

When news broke last month that John Galliano, the disgraced Dior designer, would be joining Oscar de la Renta’s atelier for three weeks before the designer’s ready-to-wear show in New York, people were shocked. Would this mark the beginning of Galliano’s comeback to fashion? And what could it mean for the future of de la Renta’s brand? 

But by the time de la Renta presented his fall collection at his showroom Tuesday evening, few of those questions had been answered. The collection de la Renta presented was classic Oscar—with, perhaps, a few touches reminiscent of Galliano’s Dior. There were jackets and dresses cinched at the waist with thin belts; long, elegant gloves, and, for the finale, dramatic ball gowns. Each detail, which at first may have seemed like a hint of Galliano, could also have easily been in the realm of de la Renta—which, perhaps, speaks to the collaboration’s success. 

Before the show, Valentino Garavani, who was seated in the front row opposite Diane von Furstenberg, said he hoped the collaboration with Galliano would lead to an evolution for both designers. “I think it will be a good thing for Oscar and a good thing for Galliano,” he told The Daily Beast. 

The first part of the collection featured thimble-shaped hats that resembled lampshades, along with dark capes, beaded slinky cocktail numbers, and jewel-colored evening dresses with standout costume jewelry.

“I liked it very, very much,” Garavani said after the show. “Without any exceptions. The hats, maybe.” He didn’t like the bucket hats? “Not so much.” Garavani went on to say that he thought some of the use of drapery in the collection could have been the influence of Galliano “but the rest is Oscar.”

Each detail, which at first may have seemed like a hint of Galliano, could also have easily been in the realm of de la Renta.
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Slaven Vlasic/Getty

In a lengthy interview in New York magazine this week, de la Renta said the company has not decided whether Galliano will stay at the house. “I would love for him to stay,” he said. “Will he? I cannot tell you that today. Because we haven’t gone that far in discussing it … so the answer is, we don’t know. We’re still exploring.” Galliano, who last week won the right to have his case against Dior heard in court—is also rumored to be exploring teaching jobs at design universities such as Central Saint Martins in London or Parsons in New York. (A Parsons rep told The Daily Beast this was “hearsay.”)

For the finale Tuesday night, de la Renta emerged with two models—one in a bright purple ball gown and one in pink—to take his final bow. Galliano was nowhere to be found. Later, de la Renta reemerged onto the runway to greet friends after the show. When asked about whether Galliano’s residency might become permanent, he dodged the conversation with a wide smile. “We’re just having a lot of fun!” he replied, and—just like that, disappeared backstage.