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Oscar de la Renta's gardening tips

Oscar couldn’t have predicted the wind. Could he? The master designer Oscar de la Renta held his Spring 2012 runway show in a new location, leaving the East Side church where he’s shown for several years for his new showroom — a raw, painted-white-and-that’s-about-it industrial space in midtown. The lack of ambience encouraged all eyes to stay riveted to the clothes...and the models’ teased-out hair, which was sometimes blowing in the wind from nearby open windows. A good look.

And it gave those formal ball gowns he showed, one after the next — 62 looks in all — a fresh, youthful, almost informal appeal. (Justin Timberlake and Nicki Minaj were on hand.) Or maybe that’s because, for all their size and ornate detail, these are dresses a woman can actually move around in.  (At the end of the runway, the models swept around the rows of audience and walked around back, without too much fuss, stumbling or awkward gripping of hems.)

An opening salvo of three grand taffeta gowns — in “marigold,” “emerald” and “tomato,” respectively — adorned with lace and embroidery set the tone. Bodices of lace (Battenburg, Chantilly, guipure — take your pick, there were all kinds here) swirled with asymmetric ruffles or crochet, maybe a hem of flirty tassels, and topped with the occasional fur (a hippie-ish rabbit and raccoon vest, a slouchy red fox jacket).

It’s hard to pick out a show-stopping number in a show full of show-stoppers, but a few come close. Like the blossom pink metallic lamé gown with ostrich feathers and embroidery (fox stole strewn diagonally over one shoulder, optional). Or the simple (by comparison) tiered chiffon gown with deep-V and leg-bearing slit. Or the regal white number embroidered with yellow poppies, which matched a garland of yellow petals in the model’s hair.

Yes, a couple — with big, stiff, poofy sleeves — seemed to cross the line into costume, like something out of Cate Blanchett’s wardrobe from her days playing Elizabeth I. And there didn't seem to be much in terms of daywear.  But pretty much every look here will have you feeling like queen for a day.


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