In 2014, Sarah Jessica Parker wore an Oscar de la Renta ballgown to the Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The train of the gown bore de la Renta's signature in scarlet embroidery. It was Parker's idea; personally, De la Renta was uncomfortable splashing his name around.
But now, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the two de la Renta alums charged with taking his legacy into the future, have decided that the late designer's modesty needs to take a back seat to their celebration of his work, an updated vision for the house and a refreshed logo.
De la Renta's personal script is an integral part of the spring 2018 collection. It serves as embellishment on dresses, skirts and coats and pretty much anywhere else his long, elegant letters might fit.
The collection, presented at Sotheby's auction house, draws inspiration from an artist's canvas. There are smocks and jeans that look as if they were splattered with paint. Instead, it's artful embroidery. The slender pumps, covered in natural canvas and splashed with color, have heels that resemble the handle of a paint brush. And party dresses look like abstract paintings.
The de la Renta script evokes the signature of an artist on a finished canvas, Garcia noted in an interview after the show. So the idea to focus on the logo seemed to dovetail nicely with the collection's inspiration.
He and Kim also noted that the house's archives were filled with handwritten letters from clients. Those words on paper underscored the personal connection between the designer and the women who wore his clothes, Garcia says. They also recall a time before e-mails made the art of letter-writing nearly obsolete. Indeed, today's signatures are little more than a squiggly line on a touchscreen.
Another shift at the house this season was the appearance of denim on the runway - not something that one might expect from a brand known for its red carpet gowns and uptown day wear. But as Garcia says, the model Giselle Bundchen wore denim for the house back in 2000.
Granted, it was cashmere "denim," he said. Still, it counts. But only at Oscar de la Renta.