Clicking through my inbox and deleting the junk mail today, there was an email from Oscar de la Renta. Not a personal email mind you, just an invitation to view his new bridal collection (and I'm obviously not in the market for bridal gowns). Now, I'm not sure how I originally signed up for emails from his website, because I've never bought anything from it, nor have I bought any Oscar de la Renta from any other internet source (as it's not available in any Australian stores). But I do like to have a little peek at what's on offer for some that live a gilded life. I love the overall aesthetic of Oscar. There's a very ladylike look to his designs, there's simplicity of line in many of his garment designs, but detail enough to take the clothes into the special realm. And then there's the workmanship.

Something like this dress with its beautiful cut out and appliqued embroidered flowers and its belt with sparkly bow buckle.

via


So beautiful.

The email reminded me that I hadn't posted my review of the Oscar de la Renta collection for The Outnet. This was a small collection that launched in February. Usually The Outnet just sells discounted designer clothing from seasons past. This collection was a collaboration with The Outnet, a first, and Oscar's team trawled their archives selecting fabrics from past runway and cruise collections and reworked them into new designs. The clothes were around 1/3 - 1/4 the price of full priced Oscar, so my expectations were that there would be a "simplifying" of the overall quality in general. I also thought it would likely have a label in the back that said "Oscar de la Renta for The Outnet", just like when you buy something from Target that's been a collaboration with an upmarket designer.

I was quite wrong on both those points.


Firstly, the navy and white Ikat dress. This is a pretty sundress with a boat neckline, made from very thick woven cotton fabric (like a slightly stiff cotton canvas in feel). It is unlined, but it was one of the cheaper dresses, so this makes sense - it's sort of like a cruise collection piece. I loved the print, and thought it would be a great Summer dress, and it's already been worn a couple of times with my favourite orange patent wedges out to dinner. It has concealed pockets, and the fabric has a stiffness to it that makes the skirt stick out a little and hold its shape.


Probably due to the lower price point, plus the fact that Olivia Palermo was used in the campaign wearing this dress, it sold out very quickly. I picked up one of the returns a week later.

This next one was one of the dresses used for the main ad campaign, and one that I completely fell in love with. It's made from a beautiful silk brocade - lots of roses of varying tones of pink are scattered over it, and it has a very 50's silhouette. The fabric is stiff enough to hold its own tulip style shaped skirt without the need for netting underneath, and it's beautifully finished with a silk lining. It's got concealed pockets in it too, and has little turn ups on the elbow length sleeves.




And just to show you, look at the labels - it's completely normal, which was a big surprise to me.


 Lastly, I blogged about the disappointment of buying the floral skirt a size too small a few months ago - well, I managed to find one returned in my size, so switched it over and now have this one, which fits (as in, I can actually sit in it). Silk and silk lined.



So my assessment was that the clothes were exactly as you'd expect for something much more expensive - as in, just like his normal line (although I have no personal experience with it). All the extras - concealed pockets, silk linings, special fastenings made these items good value, despite being (for me), still quite expensive items. Here in Australia we can spend similar amounts of money on items from local designers that fall far short of the quality and fabrics that this collection produced.

I think any future Outnet collaborations with other Designers show some promise of being well worth looking at based on what I saw of this collection. Certainly the quality and designs were quite lovely.... on the back of my raves to my Mother in Law, she went online and bought one of the other dresses and was amazed at how well it was made too.

At any rate, after this little splurge on the sale, I have kept out of the shops for a few months to balance it all out... but it was definitely worth it! I much prefer quality over quantity, and these pieces are definitely of the type that I'll keep and wear often for years to come.

34 comments:

  1. Heidi
    Do they ever have his clothes on offer at GILT?

    I enjoy your musings Heidi as you REALLY are a very good writer, IMO.

    Melody

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    1. Hi Melody, I have seen his clothes on Gilt, but the prices are still higher than when on sale at The Outnet (although they have a bigger range). They also sell out incredibly quickly, so because of the time difference there's slim pickings for the Australians! Also, returns are a problem with Guilt, so I've always been hesitant to invest major $$ on something that might not be right.
      Thanks for the lovely comment xx

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    2. Guilt - funny typo! xo

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    3. Ha! That was very Freudian.... didn't even notice!!

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  2. they are stunning! You've got to love Oscar.

    His book about his gardens and homes is one of my treasures.

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    1. I do love Oscar.... he has a new home line out too, which is divine. Stunning tableware etc He can do no wrong.

      I didn't know he had a book about his houses and gardens - have seen one in Architectural Digest which I LOVED. I'll have to go and look for the book now xx

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  3. I don't normally like prints but I love the roses dress, it's stunning on you, it has such a beautiful cut.

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    1. You know, I'm not usually one for florals at all, as I'm short I feel that they tend to wear me, rather than the other way around. But the cut of the dress is key I think, as you say. xx

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  4. I adore the floral print - it's something Joan or Betty would have worn. how feminine. perfect for date night! He is one designer that I just haven't bought anything of. I must go and see although I am wondering what his cut is like as I am little more "voluptuous" than you are! PS love your mirror as well, I just realized I don't have a decent one ( out of sight, out of mind ) hehe xx

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    1. It's very Mad Men I think. I think you'd find his cut very flattering - I have a problem with the bust area being rather big (need to get the blue ikat taken in a bit up top. Sigh).... but the overall cuts are very feminine, so I think you'd find something you'd like.

      That mirror's the only full length mirror we have in the house, and it's my daughters! She's usually prancing around in a costume admiring herself in it. I borrowed it for the 'review' and had to wipe 20 million sticky finger prints off it before I could take the photos. xx

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  5. Dear Heidi

    What a wonderful discovery! These are all great outfits and look lovely on you! I particularly like the boat neck in the black and white but the florals are beautiful too.

    You'll have guessed from my fascination with the food side of blogs that I'm no longer in the market for dresses for slim ladies, sadly. Once, I was a Twiggy, but those days are long past. I enjoy good food and a glass of wine too much to live on a restricted diet. But then suffer the consequences. So I wear very plain clothes (often from Op. Shops) with some great accessories. Doesn't stop me enjoying fashion and style though and admiring all those like yourself and FF who can wear such lovely things.

    And many thanks for your kind invitation. Have changed my mind about sending husband to camp outside the gate, think the earthmoving and cementing equipment might be a bit worrying for him. Best wishes, Pamela

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    1. You are funny Pamela!! Promise I won't let a truck reverse over him!!

      You have reminded me of something my Mother used to say - "Never trust a thin Chef". She was always deeply suspicious of any celebrity chef that was even remotely a normal size, and thought they couldn't possibly be making good food if they stayed so thin!! And needless to say having been a very, very slim younger woman, used to eating all she liked, she found it very difficult to be older and...not so thin. She had quite a scarf collection as a result! xx

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    2. You have now explained subliminally why I have quite a few scarves..!

      But I will now definitely go and check out similar dresses from him - sometimes it takes someone else to tell you to try out a new designer otherwise one gets stuck in a designer rut!

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    3. I really thinks he cuts for a female shape - a lot of the designers don't in my opinion, his stuff is quite classic and very well cut. Will look forward to seeing what you find! x

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  6. Gorgeous dresses. Love the florals especially.

    The intaglios arrived. Thank you - have emailed also.

    I was laughing at Pamela's comment. I have always been on the fairly slim side and now in my late 30s am starting to have to think about staying slim. So annoying!!!

    Take care.

    xx

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    1. Goodie! Shall go and check for your email now.

      I know what you mean about P's comment... think this could be my future too! The horrible diet has done wonders, but I worry about being able to maintain my current slender state for very many more years to come?! I like food too much.. xx

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  7. The dresses and skirt are all lovely on you, and how nice that the quality is good - not what one expects these days.

    I love the ikat dress. I am a sucker for a blue and white print.

    I also really like your sweater from yesterday - would you mind sharing where it is from? It looks great on you.

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    1. No, I think generally quality has generally trended very much down hill with most brands due to the GFC, and it was a pleasant surprise.

      The sweater was from Cable + Husk, a collaboration between Cable Melbourne and Husk retail outlets. They've done a small collection for Husk the past few years. I can't say enough good things about Cable Melbourne - all made in Australia and very, very high quality and excellent designs. xx

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    2. oh thanks for that info ..will check them out Im all for Australian made

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  8. Wow Heidi, those dresses are amazing! I love the cut of the rose dress - so elegant with its 3/4 length sleeves. Good to know that the quality wasn't watered down. The skirt and Ikat dress are beautiful too! I'm glad to hear they're lined in silk! Dani would be relieved too. I have some pieces from higher end labels that are lined in poly.... Very disappointing indeed. Particularly a Prada coat that I love... But so wish was silk-lined.

    I also love that mirror! And loved having a quick peak into your wardrobe!! All those dark suit jackets - I'm guessing they're Mr AV's?
    I'm so nosy!
    Anyway, I need to stop opening those damn J Crew emails so we can afford to buy a new kitchen and bathroom!!

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    1. Funny - thought of Dani when they arrived, with her love of the silk lining. But I couldn't agree more - I have a couple of other designer dresses that were 70 - 85% off on The Outnet and they were very disappointing in having poly linings. If I had paid full price I'd have been really annoyed. I really don't understand the point - the quality definitely drops, but it would only cost a fraction more to make it with silk.
      The mirror was very cheap - but I thought it was very nice too! Yes, suit jackets are Mr AV's - my dark suit days are long behind me now!! I did a Before and After on our dressing room and ensuite if you wanted to have a better look xx

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  9. Firstly the powder blue dress is so feminine and I can imagine the hours of work to produce it. Your blue and white dress is so versatile and could so easily be dressed up or down with accessories. I'm sure the orange wedges were perfect!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I love that powder blue dress too - just not the rather high price tag that goes with it. But I do love the Ikat dress as you said - it is definitely versatile. xx

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  10. Heidi, the dresses and skirt all look amazing. I was really interested to hear that the quality was still really high on the collaboration. I have been obsessed with Oscar since I bought two dresses in the NAP sale in Jan (I think I've commented that before on your blog!). I have had so much milage out of them already that I have decided to add to my collection. I love the idea of just adding a few lovely, well made pieces to my wardrobe each year and not frittering my money away at lots of things that aren't very good quality. There is a gorgeous blue tweed Oscar dress from this season that I have my eye on! Proper grown-up dresses!
    ps I agree with one of the comments that your writing style is lovely. I really enjoy reading your posts... have not commented recently since I've been very busy with work but you have had some crackers recently: your captions on the street style blog post had me laughing out loud.
    x

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    1. Hi Charlotte! So nice to hear from you, have been wondering where you've been... I did remember you bought some Oscar in the NAP sale, that's great that you've already had a lot of wear from them. They are grown up dresses, love that tweed one that you have your eye on too. Wish you had a blog as I'd love to see your little collection for myself... I'm quite nosey and like having a peek into other peoples wardrobes! xx

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  11. I too worship at the alter of De La Oscar ! love all yours especially the skirt, do you remember his orange long dress in "the September issue" that La Winter loved? ...well it wasnt black

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    1. I do remember the September issue dress! I think Anna is a big fan of Oscar, although apparently Michelle Obama isn't and is one of the first presidential women not to wear him (only once). xx

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  12. Oh my gosh - you look so so fab in those photos - you'll sell a million of those. Love that picture of you in the gold mirror with your clothes reflected ....they need to use that in the advertising. The two florals things are perfect and esp the dress with those wine shoes. I'm sold

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    1. You're too kind! Not sure I'd ever give Olivia Palermo a run for her money in the modelling department, but nice that you even think I'm close! xx

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  13. 'I have kept out of the shops for a few months to balance it all out.' Heides, I can't believe you wrote that, get back out there immediately, Adelaide Retailers need you NOW!!!
    Millie xx

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    1. Haha - don't worry Millie, I re-entered the shops last week... Adelaide retailers are again rejoicing! xx

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  14. oh my, your dressing room mirror is fabulous! I would love to know more about it. Love all of your gorgeous purchases, especially the ikat dress. x

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    1. The mirror was very cheap from Recollections/ Early Settler. They had a two for one deal, so I chose that one to go with the sunburst mirror that goes over the fireplace in the study... their mirrors are surprisingly good. xx

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  15. Heidi the cut and fabric of the dresses you have purchased look terrific. My dream would be to own an Oscar dress one day, as well as a Donna Karen one.

    I LOVE the Outnet, definitely one of my go to websites for clothes. I think the dresses you have bought are really classic and you will get a lot of wear out of them xxx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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