The buzz was audible preshow at Oscar de la Renta on Tuesday night as show attendees wondered aloud, “Is John Galliano at the back of the house? Will he take a bow? Will we catch a glimpse?”
The answer was yes, he was at the back of the house and no, and we didn’t see him. Recently de la Renta invited Galliano to work with him as “designer in residence.” Galliano, who is considered by many to be one of the biggest talents in fashion, had reportedly completed a significant stint in a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism after being fired from his job as creative director at Christian Dior for making anti-Semitic remarks in 2011. De la Renta has said he believes, “Everybody deserves a second chance.”
So, was Galliano’s touch evident in the collection? This is pure speculation, but the opening series of elongated ensembles – over-the-knee skirts topped with belted jackets or capes including supple leather looks (skinny leather pants!) and exaggerated peplums seemed not exactly in de la Renta’s wheelhouse and slightly avant-garde. Big cloche hats were a bit cartoony, and this runway offered fewer of those signature drama-queen, over-the-top confections. Hair and makeup, too, deviated from the de la Renta pretty-girl. Opening looks featured a lack of make up, and hair at the end was almost greased into waves.
But it doesn’t really matter whodunit. It was a beautiful, chic collection with strong silhouettes including classic de la Renta lady looks – dresses with nipped waists and flair skirts – one in red toile that featured a hunting scene .?.?. so lovely. For evening, long and lean gowns, more peplums in jewel tones – teal, citrine, and ruby. A brazen, floral mini cocoon jacket and two big, silver gilded finale gowns in shocking pink and electric blue were pure Oscar.