Oscar de la Renta RTW Fall 2021


Fall is coming up roses — and sunflowers, daisies and daffodils — at Oscar de la Renta, where the collection stunner was a minidress that looked fresh-picked, hand-embroidered all over with lifelike thread work blooms on neutral organza backing.

It may sound summery, but it’s illustrative of how the pandemic reset is slowly pushing designers and retailers to think more in season, as in when fall clothes actually hit stores, which is late July — the hottest time of the year in some parts of the world.

“By the time it was said and done, I felt like it had a late 1960s, Sharon Tate thing,” said Fernando Garcia of the collection. “But we weren’t thinking that way. We’re more pragmatic designers. We like to develop one concept and multiply its manifestations.”

Pragmatic indeed, because even though the collection was ODLR polished, it still looked like you could wear most of the pieces barefoot to dinner in the backyard. Drama and ease, the magic fashion formula for now.

The spark? “Fernando and I actually went to the flower market and pressed a bunch of flowers,” Laura Kim said.

“It looked like s–t,” deadpanned Garcia. (Surely, others can relate to a quarantine craft project gone wrong.)

So they hired a professional flower presser (what a great job!), who sourced the flora and came out with layouts for embroidery and prints.

Flower power abounds throughout, from tripping-toward-tie-dye fil coupe floral cigarette pants worn with a crisp white cotton poplin blouse, to an easy sunflower print cotton poplin drop waist mini dress, to a blue sky-blue tulle corset gown embroidered with a single spectacular beaded sunflower that should be (virtual) red carpet bound.

Using taffeta, which is definitely one of the fabrics designers are loving lately, on punchy purple and red caftans made them beautifully buoyant, and a teal green double-face wool column dress with cutout, self-tie fluted sleeves had a similar sense of ease and movement.

Bows were another motif, manifested as embroidery cutouts on an airy marigold sweetheart dress, and black evening top with tulle sash worn over pants. (Garcia and Kim have always been go-tos for a chic evening top and pants look.)

Although tailoring has been a challenging category during the pandemic, they tiptoed into it, showing a sorbet-colored pantsuit (the hue of Amanda Seyfried’s Golden Globes gown by the duo) that was feminine and powerfully original, split down the back and gold metal bow detail at the nape of the neck.

Another pragmatic piece? A deconstructed black trench with pleated tulle back. A classic with a twist to brighten up even the darkest day.