For the resort season, Oscar de la Renta’s Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim worked with the New York Botanical Garden to bring their floral-filled collection to life.
”We were casually meeting up with them [NYBG], but then I became obsessed with it. These florals came from their giant greenhouse [the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and Palm Dome], which has the rarest plants,” Kim said of the collection’s wide variety of floral motifs (including passionflowers), embroideries, appliqués and stellar cutout large-scale quilted floral jacquards, also seen as the backdrop to the collection look book. The designer added she was “really geeking out about mushrooms,” which could be seen within a statement coat with over-embroidered 3D flowers atop its painterly floral landscape.
The collection played to the rich “textural and visual contrasts in the botanical world” from day to evening. There were new floral-emblazoned jersey leggings with feminine pleated jersey blouses and gilded floral buttons adorning tweedy separates, as well as richly decorated, shimmering dresses, both long and short. Resort continued to mix sexy, youthful ideas (a red mini with detachable gloves) with house signatures (a one-shoulder pleated caftan in palm leaf green), offering a pragmatic blend for their wide customer base, which includes Kim herself.
Within eveningwear, a clean and graphic, two-tone baby blue caftan with vivid large-scale yellow sequined florals was a direct nod to Oscar de la Renta himself while opulent, revealing dresses and tops made up of long strands of pearls, diamond necklaces or bugle beads were noted to have trickled down from this year’s Met Gala theme.
“It really is true what they say about, ‘You see a person who designs something, it makes sense with the personality.’ I feel like Laura and I are very much representing who we are as people. The moment you start to force something that isn’t innately you, you lose genuine reaction from people,” Garcia said. “We have pushed the house into both [sexy and classic], we still have that signature customer but want to also feel Laura would wear a majority of the collection.”
The opulent occasionwear, dramatic, colorful tanzanite, daffodil, hyacinth and amaranth-hued gowns, and sexier, youthful styles will certainly garner attention on the red carpet, and that was the point. During the pandemic, the brand bid adieu to runway shows (at least for now) and a majority of traditional advertising, leaning into VIP and red carpet dressing, which was said to be working well for the label. Case in point: prior to the collection release, actress Ariana DeBose had already sported resort’s sheer, sequin floral emblazoned gown with high leg slit to the Time 100 Gala, while another all-black, strapless stretchy silk number within the collection was originally designed for Nicky Hilton for the Vanity Fair Oscar party.