Oscar de la Renta's collection for Balmain was an essay in simplicity. With
a restricted color palette and a minimum of embellishment, De la Renta
rendered a vision of a couture houseand of a womanthat was crystal clear.
A navy blue and white daywear section featured a neat double-face wool
jacket over an arctic-white lace blouse and wide gabardine trousers. A white
bouclé tweed coat was trimmed with navy at the four-button cuff, while an
ivory tweed tailored suit featured a skirt that flipped ever so slightly at
the knee. As daywear gave way to evening, kimonos, ponchos and caftans
became the focus. One short kimono jacket in woven bone silk featured a
belt of tressed pearls; another came closed with a grosgrain ribbon and
diamanté brooch. Sky-blue silk ponchos, meanwhile, seemed perfect for
poolside in Malibu. Caftans were cut close to the body in white over a silk
pantsuit, in navy blue embellished with gold and belted with shiny bugle
beads, or in deep turquoise finished with pavés of multitoned velour.
Ball gowns were, as always, exceptional, from an asymmetric layered organza
gown that floated around the body to a simple sleeveless black organza
shirtdress, embroidered with lace flowers, that billowed out to extravagant
proportions. Extravagant, but not over the topas de la Renta has reminded
us, sometimes couture is about knowing when enough is enough.