December 07, 2008
The mercury had dipped into the single digits, but backstage at 583 Park Avenue, Oscar de la Renta was talking about gardening. "Sometimes you plant and sometimes you weed. This is a weeding time," he said, referring to the economy. "But it's also a time of opportunity." The message being, doomsday talk or not, de la Renta doesn't plan on cutting back a whole lot. There were as many embroidered party dresses as ever, in black and white sequins, iridescent feathers, and gold-stitched beige silk faille. And the lunch set will find endless choices as well, from tried-and-true tweeds, including a patchworked style, to the altogether unexpected black and gold silk faille embroidered with metallic studs the designer used on a knee-length coat and skirt. The collection was accessorized to the hilt, with big drop earrings, riding hats, bags aplenty, and the occasional knee-high stockings. The giddy exuberance of it all was somewhat reminiscent of the 1980's. "We're trying to help the consumer get excited again," de la Renta said. It would probably be churlish to chide him for that.