Last season, Oscar de la Renta hosted two fashion week shows at his West 42nd Street studio to accommodate over six hundred invited guests. This year, it's not happening. Suddenly all squirrelly about how his supersized runway schedule might inconvenience colleagues eager to book some of his models for their own shows (“I hate to inconvenience other people, as I hope other people wouldn’t want to inconvenience me."), the designer is changing course.
For the upcoming September 10th show, de la Renta's label will stage only one runway presentation and limit the guest list to just 350 invitees. Echoing a sentiment which has been gaining momentum ever since Suzy Menkes published her "Circus of Fashion" editorial earlier this year (criticizing street style culture at fashion week), de la Renta tells WWD he is hoping to exclude the “huge crowds of people with no direct connection to the clothes.”
"When you do megashows, it loses the reason of why we’re showing […] It’s important for [certain industry professionals] to look at the clothes and see them. They shouldn’t have to go through 30,000 people, and 10,000 who are trying to take pictures of all of those people who are totally unrelated to the clothes. […] Why have 20 million people with zero connection to the clothes?”
Today, runway shows are more about generating global publicity for a brand than showing clothes to buyers and editors (there's another, more recent Menkes editorial on that subject, too). That's why highly-produced, stadium style shows have become so ubiquitous. WWD writes that de la Renta will restrict his guest list only to those with a "legitimate professional purpose" — who would that even be? I'd guess that people will be paying very close attention to the designer's downsized runway show; maybe not to the clothes, but to who's who in the audience.