Monthly Archives: February 2013

Getty Images

What’s up with Oscar de la Renta? The man is creating news – and potential controversy – right and left. After paving the way for John Galliano’s return to fashion, a move that was both welcomed and castigated by the fashion set (depending on who you asked), today Mr de la Renta, America’s pre-eminent couturier of uptown society thanks to his way with a gown (see actress Jennifer Garner, pictured), announced he was creating a collection for The Outnet, Net-a-porter’s cut-price platform, that will be more “accessible” than his normal line. Effectively, he is remaking old patterns in old fabric and pricing down. The way the company puts it is, to paraphrase, along the lines of “taking out the originality mark-up”.

Actually, this is interesting for a more macro reason than linguistic gymnastics. Mr de la Renta’s move, combined with the recent launch by Barneys NY of its own stand-along cut-price web site, barneyswarehouse.com, to sell end-of-season merch, effectively creates a luxury strategy face-off over the issue of outlets: good or bad? Seems to me we are heading towards stilettos at dawn. Read more

Saint Laurent's 'skinny' look. Getty Images

The other day I dropped into Saint Laurent Paris on 57th street, between 5th and Madison (ie, a new-look YSL shop, which I guess we now have to abbreviate as SLP – bears an unfortunate resemblance to “slip”). I wanted to check out the pre-fall men’s collection that had just come in – new designer Hedi Slimane’s first – with my real-life menswear tester (my husband). It’s one thing to see a line on the runway, another to see it on normal businessmen types, a category in which I include my beloved.

Put another way, he’s in his fourties, just under 6ft, played college sports and is still in relatively good shape without being a workout addict, so pretty representative of the mean. But what we found knocked me for a loop.

There we were, browsing the suits, which were typically elegant, and my husband asked the quiff-coiffed salesman if he could try one on. The salesman looked at him and said: “Well, you are probably our largest size, which is a European 54.” (He is, for the record, a US 42.) Read more