show & tell

Barbara Walters, Tinsley Mortimer, Patricia Field at Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta’s spring vision. Photographs by FirstView

Oscar de la Renta is the designer for the Laura Bushes of the world, and his front row yesterday was, as one might guess, a socialite-a-polooza. Alison Sarofim! Zani Gugelman! Marina Rust Connor! Every girl you see on Patrick McMullan and can’t figure out why she’s getting photographed — or invited to all these fabulous parties — was gabbing it up with other mysteriously wealthy women and taking mental notes on which evening gown to get her husband or father to buy for her.

Meanwhile, women with real power and influence, like Felix Rohatyn’s wife, Elizabeth, and Mayor Bloomberg’s girlfriend, Diana Taylor, chilled in the third row, along with De la Renta friend Barbara Walters, who said she was far too busy to go to more shows than this one and whom we managed to offend when asking about the models’ giant bouffants. Ms. Walters, can hair ever be too big? “Oh, darling, that’s not the kind of question I cope with. I have no idea. I guess my hair could be too big?” No, no, we weren’t referring to you, we mumbled, of course while staring at her hair, which moved not a millimeter as she scrambled into her chair to get away from us.

Tinsley Mortimer, the most enthusiastic clotheshorse of the bunch, who was carrying a green faux-crocodile thing she’d designed for the Japanese handbag line Samantha Thavasa, reluctantly gave us the scoop on a typical day in the life of Tinsley. “I’ve already changed once today … admittedly so,” she said. It was 1 p.m. “I didn’t wear Carolina to Carolina Herrera, but then I had this sweater to wear to Oscar. And I’m going to Max Azria and Alvin Valley, and I’m switching clothes there. I used to do diagrams to map out what I was going to wear, and it never worked. By the time I’m putting it on, it’s like, ‘This was a horrible idea! I’m switching!’”

Rachel Zoe — stylist for Nicole Richie, Anne Hathaway, and Lindsay Lohan — was among the last-minute arrivals. She wore a long-sleeved gold patterned Missoni wrap. Roger Federer, straight off his U.S. Open win, was seated next to Anna Wintour — one can only imagine that conversation. The final model of the night presented him with flowers as she walked down the runway.

As guests filed out, major Oscar supporter Patricia Field gave her assessment. “I loved the silhouettes in the first half, accentuating the waist. They were classic Oscar. But when I saw the bubble dress and then another bubble dress, I thought, I don’t know. I think the bubble is over. It’s cute, but they did it in the fifties and sixties, and even when you revisit it, it gets tired really fast.”

So what is Field into this season? “One thing I’ve noticed that looks nice is those loose hip-riding trousers, though you need a lot of height to wear them. They’re elegant. They’re Katharine Hepburn. They’re not the high-waisted thing, though I’m selling a lot of high, skinny pants in my shop. A lot of girls have never worn anything other than low-rise, so for them, it’s a whole new world. Their legs have never looked so long.”

Jada Yuan

See a front-row slideshow.

Watch video of the runway show.

Look at the whole spring collection.

Barbara Walters, Tinsley Mortimer, Patricia Field at Oscar de la Renta