"Resort means nothing. Who buys clothes exclusively for going to a resort?" asked Oscar de la Renta at his presentation today. Who indeed? Even the rarefied crowd who shops for and wears four- and five-figure designer clothes wants value. De la Renta imbued his new collection with a good deal of that, opening his salon presentation with smart black-and-white looks, including a trim skirtsuit in tweed bouclé and a graphic coatdress with short, elbow-length sleeves. But just as often, he seemed eager to inject a fair bit of fun into the proceedings. That black-and-white coatdress was accessorized with fuchsia pumps, part of a renewed emphasis on footwear. Meanwhile, a silk faille bustier bared the midriff above a hip-slung skirt, and a bandeau top and shorts in Lurex-shot navy moire exposed plenty of shoulder and thigh. If those two looks seemed like something of a reach for the debonair De la Renta, it would take no stretch of the imagination to envision one of his ladies in the tomato red version of that bandeau top worn with wide-leg black culottes.

In the end, anyway, those daytime looks were just a preamble. The evening dresses were the undisputed winners of this collection. A long-sleeved, black lace ankle-length gown with contrasting lace trim struck an elegant yet youthful note, while a strapless dress in hot pink with bullion filigree and multicolored floral embroidery was exuberant and joyous—not to mention a breeze to maneuver in with its just-below-the-knee length. It would've been a major hit on the Met Gala red carpet last week.