God knows what the heck summer will look like for all of us come next year, but surely there are happier and more liberating days ahead, right? With COVID vaccines seemingly on the horizon, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia are feeling optimistic enough to declare as much, as demonstrated in their joyful Pre-Fall 2021 collection for Oscar de la Renta which fittingly bows next summer.

"We called the people that we thought embodied that sense of ease and confidence that we wanted this collection to carry," Garcia tells PAPER over Zoom of the lookbook, which was shot by Cass Bird in New York and features Irina Shayk and Soo Joo Park. "It was important for Laura and myself to have people that represent what we were thinking as we were designing it so that it completes the picture for us"

Left: Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2021. (Photography: Cass Bird) Right: A look from Spring 1992. (Getty)

Those buoyant qualities manifested itself in sweeping fringes, rainbow knits, crochet tops, colorful kaftans and beach-y hats by Gigi Burris. Garcia says they believe the world will be in a different place, hence the inclusion of some occasion dressing like a silk moire evening gown with dramatic bows and a sculptural, ruffled cocktail dress.

The pineapple motifs are a nod to a look from Oscar de la Renta's tropical Spring 1992 collection, which saw Linda Evangelista sport a white suit jacket with two giant embroidered pineapple prints with matching earrings, skirt and turban. "We were thinking about when Oscar showed us that collection and how he was making fun of himself at the time," Garcia says. "We found them to be quite whimsical and brave for him to put two insanely embroidered pineapples on the bottom of the jacket."

Other archival references include some vintage wildflower prints overlaid with painted treatments of stripes and polka dots in silk faille dresses, trousers and trench coats. "We took old archival prints, which are not allowed to be reprinted," he says. "Any other brand can tell you this process is very meticulous when they have something that is an archive print, even if it's your own brand, they need you to develop something on top of it to differentiate it for legal reasons."

The duo continues to balance Oscar de la Renta's uptown sensibility with their youthful and edgier touches as seen in aggressively knotted belts, novelty brooches developed by Gemcraft used as buttons and a jagged rainbow heart pendant. Among their more experimental offerings were a series of looks with rick-rack trims on the side of pants, along the edge of knit dresses and as a graphic grid print.

For the finale look, Garcia and Kim developed an embroidery that mimicked the rainbow colors of the collection as polka dots on a fun little party dress for Soo Joo. "Everything that we do for the brand and everything that Oscar always gravitated towards was very bold, graphic and vivid," he says. "We're feeling very optimistic for next summer, as you can see!"

Photos courtesy of Oscar de la Renta

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