26 July 2010

off to Oscar de la Renta -a visit


gee, how lucky can you get? *
a highlight of my jaunt to NYC was a visit to the Oscar de la Renta showroom. The clothes are, as you can guess, out of this world. At the moment, the Resort Collection for 2011 is hanging in all its glorious splendor.

A look at some of the Collection's pieces in a cross section where the color and textiles-for just a moment- I separate the design of the clothes. Since I am fascinated by textiles it was quite appealing, but it would be impossible to see color & fabric only-for it is the marriage of all the elements that makes each composition in the de la Renta Collection unique.

This evening dress has to be my favorite. I saw this on Style.com when the Collection debuted. Nothing like seeing this confection in front of my own green eyes. They tend to be more hazel-but for an instant- they were a dazzling emerald, No Doubt.

This gown is in a "kelly" basketweave silk gazar- technically defined as a loosely woven silk with a crisp finish- this gazar defies that definition. The hand on the gown is extraordinary. It has weight- but is weightless. There is a wonderful crispness to it-but it drapes beautifully. I am simply seduced by any fabric with that much to offer- and the design of the gown is perfectly matched to it. Just enough structure-Perfect. Perfection.

Ulla van Zeller of model's own with the "kelly" dress

in detail

on the runway

Light as a feather-with the appearance of filament wire-this fabric in a metallic is plaited all along the bodice of the gown.

The fabric design of the dress below originates from a painting Mr.de la Renta's grandson Henry made. It is dubbed appropriately- "Henry's Print."  The fabric maintains all of the painterly qualities of the original. The colors remind me  of butterflies & the dress is designed in bias strips of fabric-maybe making just the slightest flutter of movement when worn.

 " Trogonoptera brookiana" Photo: Robert Clark, from National Geographic here

Simple lines show off this printed silk chiffon and silk twill banding sewn onto a sheer silhouette.

A silk Ikat print with a lattice bordered edge all along the hem-

Here are two little handbags made from some of the design elements and fabrics in the Collection- crochet appliques on the left are design elements in the cardigan (below left)  and the textile of the bag is the same Ikat above.

The motif translated onto a short jacket-

It is no wonder that Mr. de la Renta's creations put me in mind of the Master-Balenciaga. Hints: the green evening gown's construction, the beaded bolero, a flounce here- there, a bodice of lace, all are marks of one who not only revered Cristobal Balenciaga but began his career working in Madrid at EISA, a Spanish branch of Balenciaga's fashion world. This fall  the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute will present BALENCIAGA: Spanish Master. This extensive show was conceived by Oscar de la Renta, Chairman of the Institute's Board of Directors. Opening November 19th and running through February 19th, the exhibition is curated by Hamish Bowles and will included 70 pieces from the Balenciaga archives.
Masterpieces from this highly significant collection include Balenciaga's 1939 "Infanta" gown, and his four-point silk gazar dress of 1967 which illustrates the increasing abstraction and experimentation in his work. In partnership with the Ministry of Culture of Spain, highlights from the Fundación Cristóbal Balenciaga include the extraordinary embroidered 1957 wedding dress of Sonsoles Díez de Rivera (daughter of Balenciaga's Spanish muse, the Marquesa de Llanzol), which is as splendid as the vestments of a Sevillana Madonna figure. Additional objects such as matador boleros from 1946 and flamenco-inspired dresses from 1951 and 1961 come from museum and private collections in America and Europe. The material, some of which has never before been exhibited, includes highly significant pieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, The Hispanic Society of America, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Texas Fashion Collection, as well as Mr. Bowles' own collection and those of leading private couture collectors such as Sandy Schreier. The pieces will consist of garments commissioned and worn by some of the twentieth century's most iconic taste-making women - Pauline de Rothschild, Mona Bismarck, Thelma Chrysler Foy, Doris Duke, and Claudia Heard de Osborne among them.-from the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute site

Diana Vreeland wrote of Cristobal Balenciaga: 'All women search for their special identity. All women have sleeping qualities of luxury  and mystery. Balenciaga brought the body and dress together in harmony and suddenly a woman found herself in perfect rhythm with the universe. She found herself in delectable colors and combinations and almost impossible perfection.'
        (from The World of Balenciaga at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,1973)

The same can be said of Oscar de la Renta's approach to dressing women and his love affair with fashion.

The Oscar de la Renta website here
 (all runway photos from style.com)

*lyric from Funny Lady Ebb & Kander
Satin on my shoulder and a smile on my lips,
How lucky can you get?
Money in my pocket right at my fingertips,
How lucky can you get?

Every night's a party where the fun never ends
You can circle the globe with my circle of friends
Someone I am crazy for is crazy for me-
I'm his personal pet!
Gee how lucky can you get?

Wrap it up and charge it that’s my favorite phrase,
How lucky can you get?
When I see the chauffeur think I'll give him a raise
How lucky can you get?

Weekends in the country -with a Baron, of course
With a wardrobe to boast Mrs Astor’s pet horse!
Making merry music with the one that I love-
We’re a perfect duet!
Gee how lucky can you get?

Hey there gorgeous!
Big success!
What's your secret gorgeous?
Just lucky I guess!

Life's a bed of roses squirting perfume on me
You can spare me the blues- I don't sing in that key!
And if there's a man who'd leave me, I am happy to say
I haven't run into him yet!
Gee how lucky, wow how lucky can you get?



  1. Dear Pgt, they are all beautiful, but the green dress is to die for!! My hazel eyes almost went green too! xx

  2. OMG, how to choose...I love the geometric textiles and Henry's too. Love to see the ikat. Think a handful of socialites will have them. I don't know much about textiles but have always liked Missoni for theirs. That collection is incredible. Tell us what you were doing there. I should have told another thing about me...I'm curious and nosy.

  3. Love these posts about process & history & detail & textiles. Thank you!

  4. OMG! You lucky lucky girl! To be so close to suche wonderful creations! Fabulous!

  5. Christina, Magic does happen there!

    Barbara- thank you, one of my loves is textiles, have quite a few and need to photograph well and post one at a time.

    David- Yes, it is a perfect place to appreciate fashion. So many details that I have missed in photographs.

    thanks on the comments to all,Gaye

  6. Lucky I say! I am so thrilled that you got to do this. It is fitting for someone with your astute observations of fashion history to experience it all. You should be doing more of this excellent exploration. -A.

  7. I am absolutely in love and would be in heaven to wear almost any of these gowns and dresses! Fabulous beyond!

    Art by Karena

  8. Only a Scholar like you can finally point those in the WRONG to the fact that EISA was COUTURE...employing so many other great names of fashion, personally chosen by Balenciaga himself.

    MANY auction houses/vintage dealers today still think EISA was the 'READY-TO-WEAR' of Balenciaga...the reason he closed the doors of BALENCIAGA/EISA was the winds of change - the modern woman who loved Rive Gauche by YSL who by the way changed the history of Ready To Wear as fashionable...and he ABHORRED Ready to Wear and felt that he could not change from the Beauty of Petit Mains of Couture to the Mass produced machined pieces WE all wear today...except of course, those dressed by Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Rucci.

  9. Anon, It was great and I do find most women we are drawn to historically -let me say I-otherwise I'll hear from it- were fashion driven-whether for Power, Fame, Beauty, Practicality, Ego. This is the reason why it comes up here often. Countless wonderful books have been published on this and I enjoy highlighting it today. Thanks,PGT

  10. Karena, Marisa, Patricia-oh so much fun, I love green too.

  11. Donna, I don't know how this comment slipped through today, I just have seen it. Yes,textiles are everything to me and these did not disappoint.I particularly like the Henry's print too. Missoni knits are pretty wonderful,another that is best appreciated up close. I have had a couple over the years-gone now, one off to my niece with some good alterations. I was really just visiting, arranged by friend Ulla van Zeller. Gaye

  12. Regina, I did find so much to admire here. There is an appreciation for that weightless dress, the construction and the textiles. I have found some of the catalogs from Balenciaga exhibits since the first of this year-it seems to want to be on the pages of little augury. The Met '73 catalog referred to in this post and one book 1st ed and updated by Lesley Miller that was extremely enlightening.
    I don't think the women that wore it saw EISA as anything other than Balenciaga. I hope to see this show in the fall-it sounds like it is not to be missed. Gaye

  13. Spectacular. Your photographs do them justice and it is interesting to see all the details as you say. Happy to see a job well done as you always do.

  14. Commendation on making the method coherent, in the creation of such ravishing effects.

  15. As EISA, was the beginning of his career starting with the Royal Family of Spain...and an abbreviated form of his mothers' maiden name - EISAGUIRRE - it was closest to his heart.

    His own family were at the core of operations and of course, in between collections, he withdrew to his Spanish estate to regroup and re-energize his visions. One day with a miracle, the CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA FOUNDATION will finally open the Museum/Archives in his home town where it all began.

  16. Anon- 1:20 a.m. thank you, I need to be a much better photographer.

    Laurent, many thanks to you too. the clothes are just out of this world.

  17. Anon. 11:36,
    The origin of the name does seem to resonate throughout his career. I am reading up on all things Balenciaga and I am so glad you have peaked my interest even more. Eisaguirre. That would be fitting to establish this in his beloved home. I have some good photographs of his austerely elegant interiors. Please contact me if you can share any information about them. Thank you for enriching this post and please watch for more- Gaye

  18. I thoroughly enjoyed this post..I might have to come back and read it again tomorrow! I think if I owned that metallic Oscar gown, I too, would be in perfect harmony with the universe, just like DV said!

  19. Belles photographies , avec ces merveilleux tissus , des idées par milliers
    le monde de la mode fait rentrer dans le rêve !

  20. What is not to love here? I love the green too and the silver is divine. I think Oscar carries the day for knowing how to dress women and love them.

  21. Elisabeth, it is wonderful to see it all in detail, yes dreamlike textiles and design.

  22. OMG (oh my Gaye), these are wonderful. I love that last little polka-dot number.



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