Dispatches From New York: Oscar de la Renta, Coach, Diesel Black Gold, Rodarte, Tory Burch

Ballgowns practically gift-wrapped for the red carpet...

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Oscar de la Renta

Apparently, the late great Oscar de la Renta’s favourite flower was a red carnation and this was the flower left on every gilt seat by creative director Peter Copping. And the bloom loomed large (and tiny) on his opening outfits in deep, ruby red, along with multiple ruffles and black lace. Flamenco? There was certainly a strong Spanish influence. His research had started with The Hispanic Society of America in Harlem and that provided the backbone to his collection. Peter Copping is British (make that Welsh) but how he’s taken to dressing New York’s finest, the Uptown Oscar ladies! He tapped the polite high society with a seductive display that moved from sinuous pencil skirted looks to grand ballgowns. Like the brand’s namesake, Copping didn’t let the idea of one theme – in this case, Spain – overtake him, moving through a wardrobe of appropriate looks that took in embroidered bustiers and taffeta cocktail skirts in aqua and orange alongside bottle green broderie anglaise. It all culminated in the most spectacular Oscar-esque fashion, with a taffeta ballgown in lavender decorated with black grosgrain bows, practically gift-wrapped for the red carpet. It’s a no brainer: Oscar heading to the Oscars.
 

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Coach

The American lifestyle brand hired creative director Stuart Vevers in 2013 but this was his first womenswear catwalk show, timed to kick off the brand’s 75th year. Held amid the long grasses and wild flowers of the High Line, Manhattan’s elevated park, the Brit expat continued his obsession with all things Americana for the leather goods behemoth. The great American landscape was the trigger this season, spliced with ‘the raw energy of New York City’, then doused with surf, skate and punk-cowgirl attitude. So cacti and mountain ranges appeared on the backs of neat, boxy leather or suede jackets and patchworks of prairie prints recalling rolling meadows dominated the entire collection. There were Western and Varsity details on jackets and car coats, cowgirl boots and saddle bags. Seeped in nostalgia, the pieces were familiar, but Vevers put his own stamp on it by pumping up the colour and the surf-punk edge by way of zippered leathers and animal print. This, his first runway, offered a decisive, powerfully coherent vision of accessible modern luxury.

 

Diesel Black Gold

Creative director, Andreas Melbostad, does a good job at finding the right street beat to rock every season. It’s not easy. The word Diesel is fundamentally harnessed to jeans, but you can’t make a catwalk collection, twice a year, purely out of denim. It’s an achievement that there were only two pairs of jeans in the collection – slouchy and boyish, one style covered in black gauze. This season, Melbostad caught the fresh, cotton crispness that’s in the air but applied a tough edge to it, meaning that his cropped, pointy-hemmed silhouettes were mostly rendered in black and navy geometric lace or supple leather. His motif this season was the harness dress in black leather with buckled straps over one or both shoulders and a bandana print that zapped in black and white.

 

Rodarte

Picture Marc Bolan in his glittery, skinny scarfed heyday, circa 1972, and you’ve got the underlying vibe and look of Laura and Kate Mulleavy’s collection. Glam Rock as seen through the eyes of the Californian sisters, although, predictably, they would never consider anything as obvious as that on which to base their collection. Naturally, whatever inspiration had sparked this fest of glam was all skewed with their own off-kilter taste. They opened with a glistening stage-strutting-worthy trouser suit in slate blue, golden boots and flying paisley scarf. Said soft trouser suit was later repeated in microscopic ivory beads – glam indeed. Dresses came patchworked in paisley, striped silk chiffon and lace with rivulets of ruffles, fringed seams and sleeves erupting with frizzy Mongolian lamb. The big frizz also came in statement-making shaggy jackets. It wasn’t just the intensely handworked fabrics that were rich in detail – the colours ranged in depth from gunmetal, navy and burgundy to dusty pink and lavender. Everything was worn with black lacy tights and, although every look was detailed to excess, the materials were light enough for it to all work. The final long slim dresses were something else: in gold or black and white lace, sometimes draped with a swathe of fine organza that had been embroidered with black silk leaves, they looked part Grecian, part Miss Havisham. This collection was as romantic as it was glamorous and all constructed with the lightest of hands. It was a great show.

Tory Burch

The emphasis was on contrast, so raw, natural fabrics were paired with iridescence and neutral shades spliced with saturated colour. It was straightforwardly pretty, from the fresh cotton skirts that came smocked around the hips to the long shirt dresses with open side slits, from which cheeky lace-trim shorts peaked. Fringing played its part on woven kaftan tops and short skirts and guipure lace gave a touch of precious detail to casual shorts and simple shift dresses in vibrant marigold. The crisply laundered, easy-breezy vacation vibe clothes then gave way to sheer opalescence in a floating spaghetti-strapped dress, as sheer as it was lovely.