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Oscar de la Renta: Haute Gamme Republicanism

Godfrey Deeny
September 11th, 2008 @ 00:48 AM - New York

For true-blue supporters of the party of Abraham Lincoln the ideal designer for any First Lady is surely Oscar de la Renta, who presented the classiest collection in New York on Park Avenue on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

Staged before a delightful black and white trompe l’oeil backdrop of a gilded couture house, this collection of summery elegance and pristine chic earned a huge burst of applause as editors and fans exchanged the knowing looks of aficionados who recognize they have just seen a master at work.

"I just adored it," shivered Jennifer Lopez as she posed for photos with de la Renta in the tiny backstage of the neo-classical church where the collection was unveiled.

Made in colors like truffle, oyster and washed beige, the collection practically wafted down the whitewashed catwalk, on an astutely chosen casting of models like Natasha Poly, Behati Prinsloo and Jacquetta Wheeler, who clearly loved wearing these patrician yet never stiff clothes.

This was no time warp show but a modernist updating of de la Renta’s oeuvre. From the sleek, graphic opening swimsuits or staggered fold blouses, to the exquisitely simple shantung dresses and impeccable washed cotton suits, this collection got it all right.

Rarely have we seen such a finely made collection in Manhattan, from delicately finished maco bead embroidered dresses to harlequin pattern cocktails, the finish was superb.

The show was a tad long with 63 looks, but overall this was a smash hit by an uptown gent who knows how to reinvent himself with serene effortless gestures.

De la Renta's reach is far broader than most people realize – from classic department stores to avant-garde retailers.

"Fabulous fashion. Classy, but new. Grand but never heavy!" raved Armand Hadida, the Paris fashion forward boutique owner; While Terron Schaefer, SVP of Saks smiled "Great, old style Republican clothes. We loved it."

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