It was a short solo flight before Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia arrived back home at Oscar de la Renta, the epic New York-based brand that launched their respective careers as designers. It was only last February – in the midst of preparing for the Met Gala – that Kim and Garcia developed a business plan to start their own label by the name of Monse. Seven months later, they debuted their inaugural collection, which reinterpreted men’s shirting into modern shapes and silhouettes.
Based on the strength of their sketches and their long-term relationship with de la Renta, Kim and Garcia were able to gather a top-flight crew of editors and VIPs to view their first Monse collection, making their debut an auspicious one. In an interview with Fashion Week Daily, Kim discussed their departure from the storied house and the late Oscar de la Renta’s reaction to the news, saying, “He could not understand why we would want to leave. At first, he thought we had found other jobs at a big design house. It was almost like a divorce. It took a couple of months for him to digest it. But you know, I would have been a little upset if he hadn’t been upset.”
Kim and Garcia are now back – this time at the helm of the illustrious brand – as Chief Executive Alex Bowen has named them Co-Creative Directors in the wake of Peter Copping’s surprising departure. Like Gucci and Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta sought out young, rising talent to steer the ship. Kim and Garcia, however, are unique in that they are viewed as new designers but have almost two decades of combined experience between them. After all, Kim was at Oscar de la Renta for 12 years before launching Monse, while Garcia worked there for six years. In addition to their time at and relationship with Oscar de la Renta, the two designers have had the good fortune of working with Net-a-Porter’s Sarah Rutson, who mentored them as they developed Monse.
With connections, talent, and youth on their side, Kim and Garcia make a promising partnership for de la Renta’s future. While the two focus on designing for one of the most notable brands in the industry, they will continue to produce Monse. Their debut collection for Oscar de la Renta will show in February 2017 for the Fall/Winter 2017 season.