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.

Oscar de la Renta: Steppes Chic

Godfrey Deeny
February 06th, 2007 @ 10:57 AM - New York

Oscar de la Renta is twice the age of most of the 200 odd designers who will stage shows in New York this season, yet when it comes to the attitude of his classy fashion, it's probably fresher than any of them. And more in step with the real world.

On a day when temperatures plummeted in Manhattan, de la Renta's fur covered and trimmed fall 2007 collection looked exactly what most of the woman at his show Monday in the Bryant Park tents needed right at that moment.

Astrakhan coats trimmed with wolverine, anthracite-hued half coats made of muskrat or snugly cut coyote vests all looked distinguished, and useful. Listing the choice of fur makes the clothes sound ideal for a trapper, but Oscar's sophisticated touch and sense of the exact Art Deco detail imbued them with that ladylike elegance that is his special DNA. His clever trick of sewing fur onto knitted cashmere scarves also made for a novel and extremely efficient accessory, our favorite of the season.

For evening, his sense of grandeur – whether regal fuchsia silk faille dresses or navy boucle strapless cocktails with bugle embroidery – was never heavy handed. In a word, his fashion imparts a proud bearing to the women who wear his clothes.

We begin to think of Oscar de la Renta as the Derzu Uzala of fashion, i.e. its most authentic grand old man. Derzu, in Akira Kurosawa’s classic film was a sage-like and noble hunter in Siberia. Oscar's lieu de action could not be any further away. And yet this polished show sang out a tune about a man totally in tune with his métier, capable of taking familiar elements and his own body of references, and making it something new and special.

Derzu was the apogee of Kurosawa's canon of cinematic classics, which is how Monday's show might well one day be seen for de la Renta. It was that good.

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