and the Oscar Goes To…

For a girl who doesn’t care much about clothes, I have an out-of-character obsession with Oscar de la Renta. I didn’t used to read fashion magazines, and then when I felt my dewy freshness might have passed, I thought it was time to look as if I might know what I’m doing. And just like with Gambrel or Hagan or O’Brien, I can usually guess when the image is de la Renta.

Yep, needlepoint on the ottoman and pillows of both sofas. Leopard. 300 tulips on the commode. Good start.

And in December of 1985 the editors of House and Garden must have felt that same little quickening of the pulse.

Oh, yes. Strong dose of aqua with your red? Perfect. Let’s be friends.

There is not much in the feature about the actual apartment. It’s in New York. It was designed by Denning and Fourcade. (It was shot by Oberto Gili, whose work I am also beginning to recognize.) There is a distinct Middle Eastern influence mixed in with the 80’s opulence.

This green, well, this green used like this, not a la Wearstler, is a bit out of fashion, but what you might miss is the crocodiles at the top of the Regency mirror.

The article focuses mostly on the fabulousness of de la Renta himself.

Stenciled faux bois cabinet by Fourcade. English silver. Oh, and two Faberge decanters with the imperial eagle. The entire dining room is painted in this fashion and the ceiling is a robin’s egg blue.

It is the perfect lay out for the holidays. Red and green and gilt galore.

This is such a great mix. The Lee Jofa fabric and cord against the burled wood look so English, but the icons surrounding the bed add a different flavor alltogether. The patterns in this room are extravagent , but the bedding is as simple as a nun’s.

So while I still fall back on jeans and a white shirt more than I should, Oscar does not.

Gorgeous then.

Gorgeous now. We could all use a little Oscar.

Fashion photos courtesy of, Fall 2007 collection.
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17 thoughts on “and the Oscar Goes To…

  1. Love what he did for the house of Balmain – a little more sever. Quite an achievement, given that only one other American has ever been the head of a French couture house.

  2. Yes, I love Denning and Fourcade too….there are pictures of Carolyne Roehm’s old apartment (when she was married the Henry Kravitz) from thge 80’s that I love as well- I was young and a newly wed living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan then. Ah, youth and the glory days of late 1980’s excess!

  3. I love his style. Especially his houses. Of course, I really admire his wife’s taste. Together they are amazing. Don’t you love the book?

  4. Amazing how those interiors don’t really seem ‘dated’. I mean – it was the height of the 80s and mr. fashion himself – however if those were done today I woudlnt’ bat an eyelash! Such lush treatments – perfect for christmas time. While I couldn’t ever see that in my house – a little B&B like that for a christmas getaway would be PERFECT.
    Oh – and I think his ‘then’ shot is so much better than the current -he doens’t look ‘different’ but the gray/blue suit is just BEAUTIFUL.

  5. Courtney – I do love his style – this house was done shortly after the death of his first wife, Francoise. But, yes, Annette’s style is wonderful as well. Wasn’t she the one who rode the horse down the stairs as Sister Parish was arriving at her parents’? And, I do not have the book – how do you keep up? I’m adding it to the list. Your posts this week on design*sponge have been amazing, btw.

  6. Change – I did edit the layout a bit. I agree, it’s mostly timeless. If you could see more of the silk, pleated lampshades, they would date it a bit. And, the window shades scream 80’s to me, but other than that, truly, timeless. And, as an afterthought – rooms should have those kind of things – it’s not a bad thing to reflect your era. Here and there. This and that. It’s when the whole room has to be disposed of that it is troublesome.

  7. Was this during his marriage to Françoise? If so, it’s interesting to see this somewhat Continental look compared to his more American look now (perhaps influenced by his wife Annette?).

  8. Peak – you have a good eye, indeed. Yes, it was and I think it’s a very obvious transition. So interesting to see how these tastemakers evolve.

  9. What an awesome post! I loved reading it and drooling over the interiors, from here in my tiny apartment…what sumptuous (sp?) interiors. But what else would you expect from Oscar?

  10. Joni – I totally trust you. Between your influence and Courtney’s my entire will is going to read, “and the ___book goes to…”

  11. I think under the influence of his present wife, Annette, Oscar de la Renta’s taste is now much more rigorous, less layered and less opulent. This is not saying that the couple’s apartment isn’t rich and glamorous, but there is no Orientalism around, though it is somewhat similar to his previous apartment, ie there is much big, broadshouldered mahogany furniture around, interspersed with wonderful objects that used to be owned by Nancy Lancaster, such as the portraits of the Fitton sisters.

  12. Veneer – I’m going to have to search around a bit to compare. In an earlier comment, the Peak of Chic had a similar observation – that his look is more “American” and less European. I think that is consistant with what you are saying, yes?

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