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Oscar de la Renta

If the opening crimson-colored suit with lace appliqué and flowing, black, grosgrain ribbon was anything to go by, Peter Copping’s offering for Oscar de la Renta Spring 2016 ready-to-wear was to be a seriously romantic affair—of the Latin kind. The second look, a ruffle capelet covering one shoulder and layered over a black Chantilly lace tank, reinforced the Spanish undertones, which continued throughout an incredible, 59-look collection. A black-and-white photo of Ava Gardner attending a bull-fight in Madrid in the ‘50s was on Copping’s moodboard; indeed, “the world’s most beautiful animal” (as exclaimed on the movie posters for Gardner’s 1954 flick, The Barefoot Contessa) would have looked the part in that black hourglass bustier dress.

Carnations, a favorite flower of the late Mr. de la Renta (the designer passed on October 20, 2014), were the notable flower of choice, and they fell in abundance down dresses and skirts—particularly a white fishtail skirt with ruching from knee to waist. Copping paid due homage to his predecessor but he didn’t hesitate to blend a few personal touches, as well. The British designer is a fervent collector of period portraits and the blouse with exaggerated jabot came across as a welcome nod to his personal fixation.

The silhouettes were for the most part slender, while the odd flounce added an air of flamenco movement to the skirts. A few looks were more austere and void of embellishment in order to keep a focus on voluminous arm holes and sleeves stopping just below the elbow. But sensuality was the mainstay as highlighted by the sheer negligee ruffle halters and overall deep jewel toned color palette. If the aqua-colored taffeta ballgown with black grosgrain ribbons bordered on a Spanish-themed Harlequin romance, it was kept contemporary with its gathered high neckline and will be remembered as one of the standout evening dresses of New York Fashion Week.

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