Stylist Brad Goreski told us last night just before the Oscar de la Renta show that he was hoping “to see gowns that will definitely end up on the red carpet” by the time the Academy Awards are here. And while the show had no shortage of gorgeous floor-length dresses that Goreski’s clients will love, what we loved was the hyper intelligent interplay between prints, textures and embellishments. Oscar got smart on us in a way that almost blew our minds.
The first few looks of the show were black dresses featuring prints of pearl-and-diamond clusters, and they were pretty. But it wasn’t until a black coat came down the runway with hand-applied pearl-and-diamond clusters that we realized what was going on — the designer took something real from a handful of looks and turned it into a representation of itself on other looks in the same collection, basically weaving connective tissue between and among all the pieces in the show.
And it didn’t stop with the jewel clusters, which eventually popped up as prints on skirts and pants, as brooches and as physical embellishments on suits and coats. De la Renta also created tweed suits in red and blue, and turned photos of those tweeds into prints that he applied to an overcoat and quilted, puffy outerwear. He then showed that outerwear with pieces made from the actual tweeds. The tension between what was real and what was merely an image wasn’t overwhelming, but it was palpable — and powerful. If this collection was at times self-referential (few designers can do a better gigantic cloud of a ball gown than Oscar, and he ended the show with a few of those), it was more because De la Renta made it refer to itself rather than things he’s done before.
And yes — other designers reference their own work all the time, but none of the shows we’ve seen this season have done it as masterfully as the one we saw last night. Goreski told us that he would rather have been in Los Angeles with his boyfriend for Valentine’s Day, but we’re single, and we can’t think of a better way to have spent the evening. Take a look at our favorite pieces of the collection below.
this is some kind of spaceship or something.