Yesterday’s Oscar de la Renta show, at a Christian Science Church on Park Avenue*, took place in a grand, two-story room anchored with White House–esque columns at the front. Mr. de la Renta employed a diverse cast of models, among them a handful of the most prominent African-American up-and-comers (his spring 2009 runway was also less pale than many designers’), and his collection featured belted, first-lady-appropriate day dresses and gowns in lively, contrasting colors. One couldn’t help but wonder if this famous first lady clothier of administrations past wasn’t trying to send someone a message here?
Regardless, the only political figure present was Barbara Bush (the younger), whose mother favors Mr. de la Renta. The young Ms. Bush wore a peacoat and blue scarf and was ushered to her seat mere seconds before the show began with Derek Blasberg, ubiquitous consort to young social types. The Upper East Side social contingent had also rallied, of course—Marjorie Gubelmann, Alexandra Lind Rose, Marina Rust, Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer—not to mention Barbara Walters, a close personal friend of Mr. de la Renta’s who spent the Christmas holiday with the designer and his wife, Annette, at their estate in the Dominican Republic (where they were joined by the Kissingers and Joel Klein, according to Cathy Horyn’s recent profile of Mr. de la Renta in The Times’ style magazine).
Ms. Walters was seated in the second row (perhaps to avoid the photographers, in which case, better luck next time!). She donned red-framed glasses throughout and afterward declared the collection “very glamorous, and yet, you know, some practical pieces.” She sighed heavily when asked to name her own favorite de la Renta frock. “Well, look what I’m wearing,” she said, motioning downward to her cream-colored shirt and matching long coat. “God knows how old this is!”
Suddenly a blond friend of Ms. Walters’ appeared. “Do you want me to drop you?” Ms. Walters asked solicitously.
“Are you going my way?”
“No, but I will, I don’t mind, darling,” assured Babs.
“It’s snowing and raining!” protested the friend.
“I have a car.”
And with that, Ms. Walters pulled on a fur-lined overcoat with massive furry hood and (after pausing in the lobby for a brief TV interview or two) escaped the building arm-in-arm with her friend.
*A previous version of this article characterized the space as a “former” Christian Science church.
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