Dominican vibes and a youthful feel at Oscar de la Renta

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar de la Renta's designing duo, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, looked to the homeland of the label's late, legendary founder for their latest show: the Dominican Republic.

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They presented a jaunty collection with a youthful feel, while making clear that the label is still decidedly about luxury.

The stage was decorated to evoke a tropical street market, with palm trees and tall baskets filled with fruit lining the runway.

The relaxed, unbuttoned mood was evident with the first item down the runway: a one-shoulder, asymmetrical wrap dress in silk chiffon that was short enough to barely graze the hip on one side, covered by a long crepe blazer, both in a breezy light pink.

Many more thigh-baring looks followed, in silk chiffon or in print. The favored print was a cheerful floral motif in yellow, orange, black, green and white, which appeared on everything from a long strapless dress with big slits up each side, to a short wrap skirt that looked like a scarf tied in a bow, paired with a preppy ribbed navy sweater.

That print appeared on a roomy caftan, too, and on a white silk coat over equally roomy black trousers. The casual looks continued with a number of tasseled dresses, like a one-shoulder striped knit dress with fringe at the bottom.

The caftans gave way to fancier dresses, like a stunning embroidered moire gown in a peacock hue. Then came the more traditional de la Renta gowns, in strapless silk taffeta, in shades of bright yellow or pink.

Not everything had to be bright: an embroidered lace strapless gown made an elegant statement in simple ivory, as did a shimmering crystal-embedded strapless gown.

Perhaps nothing embodied the "new" Oscar de la Renta more than the penultimate number, a flamboyantly billowing scarlet strapless gown that one could have imagined at the label years ago, except for one thing: the front was open all the way up to the upper thigh.