When Oscar de la Renta officially announced Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia as the new replacement heads following Peter Copping, many queried, “Who?” However, fashion insiders were already familiar with the cult label that Kim and Garcia had formed under the moniker Monse. They certainly had buzz surrounding their emerging label, but could the duo hack it at the level required of taking on one of America’s (and for that matter, the world’s) most iconic fashion brands? By the looks of their debut show for Fall/Winter 2017, the answer is a resounding and enthusiastic, “Yes!”
Kim’s and Garcia’s decision to show their Monse collection and Oscar de la Renta collection back-to-back on the runway was a stroke of marketing genius, at once proving their incredible versatility as designers and stumping hard for the coolness of Monse. Two birds, one stone, and all that. Notwithstanding the bravery, and brevity, of the Monse portion, the Oscar de la Renta side of the show won over every onlooker with its tremendous beauty. Not only were the designers nailing the ladylike classics the brand is known for, and exalting the craftsmanship of its atelier with extraordinarily bedazzled tea-length gowns, but they were bringing some freshness to the table too. For proof, look no further than the luxurious black astrakhan duster, the baby pink suit worn with metallic cummerbund, and the less-is-more approach to embellishment which saw hand-constructed crystal motifs lightly scattered across surfaces rather than smothering them.
These are the kind of clothes that on-screen sirens like Grace Kelly would wear if she were alive in the present day.
While daywear was feminine, it updated old-fashioned staples like cigarette pants, trapeze coats, and full-skirted frocks with gleaming fabrics and splashy exteriors. These are the kind of clothes that on-screen sirens like Grace Kelly would wear if she were alive in the present day. The most exuberant moments on the Oscar de la Renta runway came in the form of slinky sleeveless gowns decorated with glittering micro-sequins, gorgeous one-shoulder velvet dresses, and princess frocks. If you wondered how the more voluminous looks kept their shapes, caged crinoline petticoats with “ultrasonic” boning underneath kept the skirts spectacularly suspended. Despite an early mishap with a fallen curtain that obscured some of the collection from the audience, it looks like the legendary American luxury brand has landed on two Creative Directors who really “get it”.