NEW YORK – This September, Oscar de la Renta dazzled audiences with its spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection’s vibrant colours, glittering embroidery and voluminous gowns. Sotheby’s galleries, where the collection was shown, made an immaculate canvas for the art-inspired garments. This December, ODLR creative directors, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have returned to Sotheby’s for the inaugural weeklong sale series, A Life of Luxury. “It is quite fun to paint a full picture of where one imagines the Oscar woman going – what dress she’s wearing, with what watch and what car,” Garcia told Sotheby’s about Kim’s and his experience styling ODLR looks with lots ranging from wine to timepieces. “The next thing we’d like to pick is the right man. Where is that catalogue?” Ahead of the sale series, the designers share more about their favourite things and how the duo is so beautifully tailoring the Oscar aesthetic.
LAURA KIM AND FERNANDO GARCIA. COURTESY OSCAR DE LA RENTA.
How did you two meet and get to know each other?
Garcia: When I had the lucky chance to meet Oscar and show him my sketches as an architecture grad student, all he could talk about was this girl Laura and how much I am going to love her and enjoy working with her, which puzzled me: he simply had a strong gut reaction to a great symbiosis about to happen. As soon as I got to begin interning we clicked. I learned everything I know about creating a product thanks to Laura.
Kim: Oscar told me there is this boy coming from the Dominican Republic; I was busy putting Resort together. I forgot Fernando was supposed to come, then he showed up and was sitting in my chair, and I was like, “Who’s that?”
What do you admire most about ODLR’s fashion legacy?
Garcia: Oscar de la Renta has a very rare element of timelessness that does not exist in many brands today. Its ability to have the same strength in product offering, throughout its existence, is amazing. Every year it has stayed as American and elegant, while striking a young bold note, as it did at the very beginning.
Kim: I always remember Oscar wanting the newest thing. I think he wanted us to move forward but keep it very Oscar. He was the one pushing us to see the newest, youngest ideas and materials.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA’S SPRING 2018 READY-TO-WEAR COLLECTION AT SOTHEBY’S.
In your role as creative directors, what is your goal for the company? How are you leaving your own mark on the house?
Garcia: Laura and I believe that today a woman needs to be comfortable. What we’re introducing into the house is a sense of versatility; evening separates, suiting, even denim to make the brand feel much more approachable for today’s woman.
Kim: I want our customer to be able to purchase everything she needs for her wardrobe at Oscar. Cocktail dresses and gowns, yes, but also T-Shirts, jeans and sweatpants. My personal spin will be adding a bit of a relaxed and casual attitude to the brand.
Do either of you collect jewels or watches? Do you have a favourite piece?
Garcia: My father has a vintage 1960s Patek watch he knows I have my eye on. I hope he doesn’t forget my birthday is coming up soon.
ODLR’s show at Sotheby’s featured many art-inspired details. In terms of your fashion design, have you always been inspired by art?
Garcia: Yes, particularly Spanish artists like Miró or Picasso. They have a bold sense of colour and style which Laura and I are always very drawn to.
LAURA KIM, FERNANDO GARCIA AND STYLIST CRISTINA EHRLICH AT SOTHEBY’S NEW YORK FOR A DINNER CELEBRATING THE OPENING OF A LIFE OF LUXURY. PHOTOGRAPH BY TIFFANY SAGE/BFA.COM
Do you ever look to fine jewellery for inspiration?
Garcia: Sometimes it gives us a direction for our embroideries.
Since ODLR is a red carpet favourite, jewellery goes hand in hand with your creations. Do you have a motto when it comes to accessorising them?
Garcia: They need to complement the woman; it is not only about the gown. If it suits her personality it should be worn, but if it goes against her character it doesn't matter what the jewellery or the gown is.
How do you personally define luxury?
Garcia: Luxury to me is the freedom to do whatever you want whenever you want it. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with money. I guess time and freedom to me are the ultimate luxury and the most luxurious things to ever own.
View the slideshow to discover how Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia styled ten looks from their Oscar de la Renta collection with upcoming lots from A Life of Luxury: