Oscar de la Renta's shows are always elegant and invariably luxe. But for fall, the designer really went to town with the signature embellishments loved so well by his mother-daughter fans (like Tina and Beyoncé Knowles, who made their way to their seats after the lights had dimmed). The collection started on an ethnic note, with belted ikat coats and jackets (a motif he introduced for spring) worn with bejeweled turtlenecks and glen plaid skirts or trousers, also embroidered. No look was left undone, except perhaps for a few pairs of shorts that shouldn't have made it to the runway; they're a tough sell for this genteel crowd. Ornamentation came via trompe l'oeil beading on cashmere crewnecks, coin appliqués on skirts and handbags, even unexpected crocheted brooches on knit scarves.

Evening was just as ornate. De la Renta reprised one of his greatest hits when he paired voluminous white silk blouses with brightly hued embroidered velvet gypsy skirts. One black cocktail dress was simple enough for Holly Golightly, but most were decorated—some opulently with rhinestones and tiny silk bows or gold paillettes. His red carpet numbers ranged from streamlined racer-back columns with heavy dustings of sequins to Empire-line tulle princess gowns to brocade showstoppers that grazed the toes of audience members as they glided by—just the thing for a larger-than-life diva like Knowles.