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While there are designers who believe in the 'less is more' approach, Oscar de la Renta is and has never been one of them. But amazingly, and to his credit, in his adept hands, the often intoxicating and thoroughly luxurious mixes (of fabrics, of patterns, of ornaments) not to mention all the embroidery, embellishments, gold coin appliqués, nail heads, beads, and
sequins, almost always come off as, well, believable, often youthful, and very rarely costumey (no easy feat).

The Ikat prints that have almost become signatures since the very beginning, and which he used so successfully 6 months ago for spring, appeared on beautifully fitted shearling coats and jackets, and were used on a duo of belted velvet coats- one with cross-fox trim, the other, trimmed with sable. Speaking of furs, Mr. de la Renta has always been a fan of fur, (using it sumptuously and without abandon in his ready to wear collections- and within his own fur line for Alixandre. Interestingly, this time, some of his most noteworthy pieces were beautifully subtle, almost hidden. For example, sheared mink lined an Ikat coat, a belted white sheared mink wrap coat was actually shown on the skin side, and the black broadtail coat, was so beautifully tailored, narrow and lean, it was almost hard to believe it was fur. (Of course, furs are now being treated like fabric, and there is no fur so perfect for this use as broadtail, which has been seen all over the runways).

Oscar artfully mixed tweeds and plaids in the same outfit, adding leopard print pony skin belts for added dimension, he added gold coins on a boiled wool jacket and on a black cashmere sweater, mixing both with glen plaid. One standout coat was fitted and cut somewhat like a Cossack coat (double breasted, tab collar, high waisted), but Oscar wisely resisted the urge to add a big fur hat or a fur muff. Actually, the genius in the collection was in the pared down and restrained styling- other than great boots and bags, the models were naturally made-up, hair styled into chic buns away from the face. He really let the clothes do the talking.

There were really no surprises for evening- all the things Oscar has long stood for and loved were there on the runway: but this is where he pumped up the volume with his white silk blouses and very full printed velvet embroidered gypsy skirts. One sure fire hit amongst his fans was the knockout, heavily jewel encrusted fuchsia embroidered satin coat shown over a black silk faille dress. But he also wisely played down evening as well, exemplified by the beige cashmere cardigan worn with printed taffeta bubble skirt. The finale, a frothy strapless gold embroidered tulle gown with an empire waist and very full floor length skirt, had Sarah Jessica Parker's name all over it.


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