Fashion / Style

New York’s New Enchanted Forest Shows Oscar de la Renta Hasn’t Lost Its Magic Touch

A Daring Trip Into the Woods

BY // 02.14.18

NEW YORK — When working for Oscar de la Renta in 2014, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia accompanied the legendary designer on a field trip to the Cloisters, the bucolic upper Manhattan museum dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe.

That excursion so impressed Kim and Garcia that they centered their fall 2018 collection around what they saw. In their third collection for the Oscar de la Renta label  — the duo assumed the top job in 2016, two years after de la Renta’s death — they created an enchanted forest, incorporating lush embroidered animal and floral fabrics in evening gowns and daytime dresses, slacks, and blouses.

Nearly every item in the collection salutes the great outdoors theme. Coats are highlighted with crystal branch patterns, blouses feature lace leaf appliques, pullover sweaters are brightened with metallic crochet floral embellishment, and jackets are dotted with colorful metallic floral embroidery.

The designers also refer to Mary Delaney, an 18th-century English artist known for creating “paper-mosaics” of flowers made from hundreds of pieces of cut colored paper. A reminder of her floral creations appear in heavily embroidered jackets and tulle dresses.

And the most distinctive evening wear — always a speciality of the de la Renta brand — features voluminous ball skirts with woodsy animals in keeping with the medieval forest theme.

While the distinctive floral and animal theme runs throughout the collection, the designers also reference the Elizabethan era with lush velvets and pearl details. And a few looks without any reference to the theme stand out on their own. A ruby red coat of swirly tulle is a stunner and a slinky “fish scale” gown shimmers as the model moves.

It’s the most polished effort to date from the new designers, who carefully tread the line between the de la Renta legacy while appealing to new customers as the future of the brand. For those who have viewed the Oscar de la Renta exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, or plan to, as it has been extended through March 18, the fall collection offers a reminder that beautiful clothes remain the hallmark of the de la Renta legacy.

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