The Park Avenue Players

In a week where some of the younger and lesser-known designers like Adam Lippes for instance, seem to have been channeling his design aesthetic, the Fashion Office was keen to view the offering from the master himself, Oscar de la Renta, showing in his Park Avenue atelier. Mostly, the designer kept things true to form. Having just shown a pre-fall collection of similar ambiance, there were few surprises. The knee-length dirndl skirt, full leg pants and tweedy jackets from two months ago were all here, not to mention the wonderful ombré fades on silk. Opulent jewel tones of purple and berry played against the grey neutrals and earthy colors we have been seeing all week. Gold leaf was often used as a highlight. For evening, amongst the Oscar-worthy dresses, a simple caftan in black and gold.


Still focused on sportswear but served up with an Edie Bouvier twist, Peter Som focused on the “quirky, dark, and idiosyncratic” qualities of Diane Arbus’ photographs of downtown New Yorkers for his Fall Collection. “They’re reality-based and fantasy-oriented,” the designer explained. His palette of cerise, lemon, navy and plum was the result of his imagining what Arbus’ black-and-white photos would look like in color. On the whole, there was indeed a quirky, vintage ambiance to the show, from the tweedy separates (full skirts, slouchy pants) and the mismatched blouse-and-skirt ensemble topped with a cheetah-print coat to the luxury fur stoles draped over the shoulders in a rather louche manner.


It is so tempting to speak of Oscar and Carolina Herrera in the same breath as season after season the similarities are endless but this week has proved to be the exception. Carolina sent her Park Avenue ladies off to the country to revel in a melange of tweed and windowpane checks mixed with luxe velvet and transparent chiffon; capes matched to skinny pants and knee-length skirts with ruffled blouses. Alpine hunting hats and scrunchy “Dick Wittington” boots gave it all a middle-European flavor, as if the models were attending the hunting party of an Austrian duke. It seemed a bit costumey in a British pantomime way but if stripped down to the essentials there was enough of a fall story to please the ladies of the upper east side.


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