"Mercy, Mercy Me" played on repeat at Oscar de la Renta. It doesn't pay to read too much into such details, but we don't need Marvin Gaye to tell us that "things ain't what they used to be." On the upside, there's the new administration; and on the down, well, we all know about the down. For de la Renta, though, the negative will never be a notion worth entertaining. So what if the markets performed another nosedive earlier this week? The designer is resolutely staying the upper-crust, polished course, from the tippy top of his models' grand, Keira Knightley-in-The Duchess updos to their gold-shod feet.

The show opened with a black double-faced wool dress, accessorized with a black and white skunk scarf and mittens that suggested de la Renta might be willing to dial down the luxury—skunk being quite a bit less swanky than, say, fox. But not a chance. Hallmarks like texture, surface embellishment, and color are just as key this season as they've ever been. Witness a smashing lamé leopard dress, an embroidered gold jacquard coat, and an aubergine silk wool suit worn with a red charmeuse blouse. (Although an almost minimal-by-comparison black wool skirtsuit gets high marks, too.)

De la Renta is one of the few designers this week who has really gone there in terms of grand evening. His stunners came in the subtle variety—a black silk off-the-shoulder column cinched with a metallic belt, for instance—and the not so subtle, as in the pair of strapless crinoline gowns that closed the show. In the face of so much turmoil, there was something about all that netting that was fabulously defiant.