Fashion

09.11.13

Oscar de la Renta Spring/Summer 2014: A Love Letter to Women

The designer’s Spring collection featured sophisticated separates, loads of color—and, of course, high drama. Isabel Wilkinson reports on Monday night’s show at New York Fashion Week.

Oscar de la Renta’s collections always contain a few key components: ladylike separates, colorful, sweeping ballgowns, and high drama. 

And Monday night’s show at his showroom in Midtown was no exception. In true de la Renta fashion, the collection began with ladylike separates: checkered pencil skirts and conservative black and white coats embroidered with leaf-prints. 

Things just got more colorful from there. Out came an army of colorful cocktail dresses, just as bright and sunny as the show’s soundtrack, The Beatles. There was a stunning lime-green dress with a swooping hem shown with sundial earrings; an orange scoop-neck shift dress rimmed with pink gemstones (styled for a Palm Beach cocktail party with a pink bracelet and matching kitten heels), and a rose-colored strapless minidress that bloomed like a flower. Barbara Walters, in a black-and-white embroidered Oscar coat, sat next to the designer’s wife, Annette de la Renta, in the front row.

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Designer Oscar de la Renta, center, greets the audience after his Spring 2014 collection was modeled during Fashion Week in New York on Sept. 10, 2013. (John Minchillo/AP)

But of course, this being de la Renta, the real drama was in the evening wear: a tiered baby blue column dress, a sweeping blue evening gown with an uneven hem, a green strapless number in a shimmering crocodile-like fabric, and even a polka dot-and-floral dress with a veil. The show-stoppers, however, came at the very end of the show: the model Karlie Kloss in a liquid-gold column dress—followed by Joan Smalls in an extraordinary yellow pouf dress and swathed in dramatic black lace.

Last season, de la Renta made news after he agreed to welcome disgraced designer John Galliano into his atelier for three weeks before the collection. The announcement spurred rumors that de la Renta, now 81, was considering retirement. It’s unclear whether de la Renta collaborated with Galliano or any other designer on this collection—but it doesn’t matter. The de la Renta woman is alive and thriving.

“I thought it was so beautiful,” Walters said after the show. “His things are so recognizable. You know it’s Oscar.” Asked if there were anything she thought she would wear from the collection, Walters deadpanned: “Not the wedding gown!” Lucky for her there wasn’t really a wedding dress in the collection.

Afterward, de la Renta told The Daily Beast that the collection was inspired by his love of women. “And I do the very best I can to make them fall in love with the clothes,” he said. 

Judging by Monday night’s show, that part should be easy.