Having consistently set the bar for polished daywear and utterly refined evening dazzlers, Oscar de la Renta is looking to build his accessories business. His first target? Shoes. In a preview of his brand’s newly-revamped collection of shoes–starting with Pre-Fall 2011 shipping late next summer–de la Renta also formally introduced his two new hires: Alexia Aubert, director of design for footwear and a protégé of Pierre Hardy and Christian Louboutin, and my good friend Annelie Hofstrom, a 13-year veteran Manolo Blahnik veteran who’s now de la Renta’s executive vice president of footwear. With that winning combo, all I can say is: watch out!
At first look, the shoes retain the elegance de la Renta’s shoes have come to be known for (progress doesn’t happen overnight, after all); but with Aubert’s cutting-edge expertise and eye (she’s a sharpshooter, that one), give it one or two more seasons. Blockbusters are guaranteed. For pre-fall, there were already some noticeable differences in the shoes–the most obvious of which was the introduction of a rubber sole. Yes, a rubber sole. On an Oscar de la Renta shoe. Clearly, the idea that all of his well-heeled ladies have drivers harks back to the era of Nancy Reagan; with modern times come modern modes of transport–and de la Renta is adapting to his ladies’ needs. And, as his rhinestone-embedded heels can attest to, he’s looking to have some fun, too. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a new “Oscar” loafter that is a women’s take on the classic Belgian loafer that de la Renta himself wears almost everyday. But my favorite? Without a doubt the black satin pump with embellished toe detail. Ladies, start planning your 2011 holiday outfits!