In Conversation With Fernando Garcia & Laura Kim of ODLR
Photographs by James Brodribb
It hasn’t yet been long since wunderkinds Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim of Monse fame made their return to Oscar de la Renta as co-creative directors, but they’ve proven that’s certainly enough time to have made their mark. Together, they’ve breathed new life into the iconic brand while honoring the founder’s classic vision. Ahead of their pre-fall handbag collection launch, BG’s Alexandria Gomez caught up with the pair to discuss their latest collection, the recent Met Gala and how they divide and conquer.
The pre-fall handbag collection is available now in store and on BG.com.
Bergdorf Goodman: What’s been the biggest challenge in taking over such an iconic brand?
Fernando Garcia: Keeping it relevant to the times while maintaining our longtime customers.
BG: What is your vision for Oscar de la Renta moving forward?
Laura Kim: The Oscar woman has a very clean idea of what the Oscar look should feel like. We are simply updating her closet.
BG: Who is the new ODLR woman?
FG: We believe the woman today needs to be comfortable. What we’re introducing into the house is a sense of versatility, evening separates, suiting, even denim to make the brand feel much more approachable for today’s woman.
BG: Who is the woman you have in mind when designing for ODLR versus Monse?
LK: The Oscar de la Renta woman has a specific vision in mind about what she wants to wear. The Monse girl is a girl on the go, she likes the option of unbuttoning herself a bit more.
BG: Tell us about the women you dressed for the Met Gala.
LK: We dressed Kate Bosworth and Nicki Minaj. Our relationship with Kate started when we dressed her for her wedding and since then we have dressed her for several other occasions. She is a true Oscar girl and wears clothes so well. Nicki [Minaj] is also a friend—we had a lot of fun designing her dress; the temptress was seducing everyone that night!
BG: How do you divide design responsibilities between you?
FG: Design wise, we share all of our visions with both teams and brainstorm the collection through fittings and swatches. The rest of our responsibilities, we divide and conquer. Budgeting and managing is Laura’s turf, public relations and marketing is Fernando’s.
BG: What interests you in designing bags and what were you trying to achieve with these new silhouettes?
FG: We like designing bags that have lasting power, something that can evolve over seasons to come.
BG: What is the significance of the signature gardenia flower on the new bags?
LK: The gardenia flower is a tribute to Oscar. It was his favorite flower.
BG: Who is your ideal customer that you would want to see wearing these bags and how?
LK: We like to see these bags on any customer, no matter her personal style. The bags work with gowns as well as they do with jeans.