Something bizarre happened at New York fashion week on Monday evening as two quite different brands – one a venerable American fashion house, the other a cutting-edge youthful upstart – showed their collections together.
The headline moniker was Oscar de la Renta, the upper crust American label beloved of the Parkland Avenue set, which presented its first collection under its new inventive directors, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia.
The support act was Monse, Kim and Garcia’s own identify – a white-hot brand and favourite of the Instagram set – which is currently doing energetic business producing modern on-trend pieces.
In a dark industrial intermission lined with silver lurex curtains, the Monse shapes walked down the catwalk first, presenting a collection of destroyed classics. There were deconstructed, ruffled white shirts, tuckers fashioned from shiny black tuxedo cloth and howling grey herringbone.
There were khaki parkas fatigued over sequinned skirts and velvet pieces in crayola crayons and drapey Studio 54 silhouettes. Fashion’s current picked erogenous zone – the shoulder – was exposed more often than not, with panels of make-up that peeled louchely away from the body of the garments. The schemes seemed to be designed to hit the sweet spot between straight up sex pray and brainy subversion.
Next the silvery curtains drew back, the lights brightened and the techno music put into effected a turn for the optimistic as the Oscar de la Renta segment of the show inaugurated. The look was more luxe, and simple, focusing on sharp trials, luxe full-skirted gowns and fluid cocktail dresses. There were covers in Schiaparelli pink, deep purple and an impossible-to-keep-clean cream that looked immensely strokeable and very expensive.
A lot of this was the sort of bright, monotone collection one would imagine a stateswoman might wear to be spotted in a cram – fittingly given that Oscar de la Renta made his cite dressing first ladies from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama.
De la Renta died from cancer at the age of 82 in 2014. Over four decades the much liked designer set the template for glossy American style, creating quick, brightly coloured skirt suits for senators and Upper East side lunching ladies showing, and romantic gowns with expansive organza skirts diagramed for rustling over red carpets. Amal Clooney wore De la Renta when she fit George. Hillary Clinton was a fan of his smartly cut suits. Carrie Bradshaw’s avowed adoration on the TV organize Sex and the City helped to propel the brand to a position of global appreciation.
De la Renta personally chose the British designer Peter Copping to be successful him. Copping had the difficult task of honouring the founder’s legacy while spawning designs that satisfied the industry’s thirst for novelty. The upshots sometimes struggled to successfully break free of the De la Renta templet and Copping’s departure was announced in the summer.
His successors, Kim and Garcia, jogged together for several years at Oscar de la Renta before up to set up Monse less than two years ago, where past anthologies have been inspired by workaday items such as streaked shirts, pin stripes and trenchcoats, but with the proportions twisted or inverted. In this way, the Monse aesthetic even withs into that of brands such as Balenciaga, whose undermines of everyday items of clothing represent the current cutting force of fashion.
Looking effortless is the Monse modus operandi, Garcia has utter of the brand: “Usually, the less dressy you look, the cooler you look” – a deceptive idea when combined with the house codes of Oscar de la Renta, a disgrace that excels in matching-shoes-and-handbag smartness and duchesse satin sorcery. In fact, in colour scheme and attitude the two brands meshed luxuriously.
At a time of flux for the fashion industry, with designers such as Tommy Hillfiger electing not to show on the New York fashion week schedule at all, Oscar de la Renta-Monse dual show offers a fresh and pragmatic twist to the traditional fashion manifest. Oscar de la Renta gets buzz and cool points from Monse. And, as shard of the deal, Monse gets financial investment and operational benefit from the elder brand. Crucially, the cost of the fashion corroborate is shared between them. Sometimes opposites have fair reason to attract.