Front Row Report, Oscar de la Renta: Barbara Walters Attends Show

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Barbara Walters

Whoopi who? The former "View" co-host makes her rounds during New York Fashion Week, too.

Not even retirement can keep Barbara Walters away from an Oscar de la Renta show: On Tuesday evening, there she was in the front row, alongside the other ladies so loyal to the beloved designer, including interior designer Mica Ertegun and Nancy Kissinger.

What’s so appealing about an Oscar de la Renta collection these days is his exceptional ability to produce collections favored by these longtime clients, even as a steady stream of starlets are likewise eager to wear his dresses on red carpets. Jessica Chastain last week at the Deauville American Film Festival, Zooey Deschanel at the Emmy Awards, and Lucy Hale at the MTV Video Music Awards are just a few recent examples. Fold in Tina Fey at June’s Tony Awards and Megan Fox at the New York premiere of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in August, and it’s clear that the ladies love Oscar.

That deft balance was once again evident at de la Renta’s presentation Tuesday evening. While we savored his signature ideas — beautiful floral embroideries that evoked his love of his garden, the luxe tweed dress with the stand-up collar — de la Renta also seemed to be exploring a delicacy throughout the collection. Some fabrics seemed whisper-light, like the black-and-white filigree embroidered macrame peplum top and the ivory silk-organza dress hand-embroidered with flowers. Gingham, among the biggest trends of the spring/summer 2015 collections, was put on steroids in an oversized buffalo check, including one crop top and skirt in a pale “Wedgewood” blue, the latter featuring a sheer organza overlay.

Indeed, that crop top was one of several nods to those younger clients, as were the number of sweet A-line dresses that stopped mid-thigh. Among the crop tops splashed throughout, you could picture Taylor Swift (who wore a gown from de la Renta’s Resort collection to May’s Met Gala) opting for the gold-sequin bandeau top and matching diaphanous tulle skirt embellished with feathers and gold sequins.

Ask de la Renta about his inspirations, and unlike other designers, he won’t wax rhapsodic about a recent journey to some foreign land, or the work of some obscure painter he just discovered. Rather, his stock answer is a simple one, and yet no less passionate: to make women “feel simply beautiful.” On Tuesday evening, de la Renta handled that challenge with his typical grace and sophistication. No wonder A-list ladies love Oscar.

FROM LEFT: Karlie Kloss, Oscar de la Renta and Daria Strokous. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff)