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At de la Renta: volume, va-va voom

9:56 AM, Feb 13, 2013   |    comments
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 12: Models walk the runway at the Oscar De La Renta Fall 2013 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at 11 West 42nd Street on February 12, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK -- The setting may have been stark white, but the clothes at Oscar de la Renta on Tuesday night were as sumptuous as ever: crystal-encrusted necklaces, feather-festooned cloche hats, gold bullion embroidery, gossamer gloves in red and blue.

And who says fall is for jewel tones? De la Renta hiked up the hue factor with chartreuse, citrine and shocking pink.

The vicar of volume played with the formula, trotting out billowy peplums, hooded capes, cocoon jackets, exaggerated sleeves and, of course, silk ballgowns. There was whimsy (a red toile print) and sex appeal (take note, CBS suits: even the ever-elegant de la Renta is knocking out knickers-revealing illusion).

These were clothes for a red carpet - or a first lady (OK, maybe not the sheer skirts).

Despite being the man behind Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton's fashion makeovers, de la Renta has famously never dressed Michelle Obama, and in New York magazine's spring fashion issue, he addresses the slightly awkward subject: "At this point in my career, would I like to dress Mrs. Obama? Of course. But will it make any changes to my business? Does my customer in Dubai care if I am dressing Mrs. Obama or not? I don't think so."

De la Renta has been the New York-based titan of taffeta for 50 years, and as if to mark the occasion, a couple of his fellow fashion veterans, Valentino and Diane von Furstenberg, applauded from the front row, adjacent to de la Renta's 25th-floor headquarters.

Valentino approved. "Beautiful," he mouthed across the runway to de la Renta's wife, Annette.

Indeed.

Olivia Barker, USA TODAY

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