Oscar de la Renta’s Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia unveil their 2018 Resort Collection at the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s annual fashion event and fundraiser.
Once a year, a beautiful stretch of beach along Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village turns into a high-fashion runway. It’s the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s 48th Annual Fashion on the Lake, presented by Saks Fifth Avenue and Oscar de la Renta. Northern California’s environmentally-conscious fashion elite have been flocking to Lake Tahoe since Bill Blass created the event nearly five decades ago.
It’s a unique opportunity to view the latest collection, support the lake, and meet the principals of the fashion house. This year anticipation was high to see what new designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia would do with the Oscar de la Renta 2018 Resort Collection. de la Renta left huge shoes to fill, but the duo is especially suited, having both previously worked for the house before setting off to create their own brand. As a fan of their label Monse, I was particularly excited to see the collection.
The sky was overcast on the day, but given how hot it had been, the clouds and cooler temperatures were a welcome change. Lake Tahoe is beautiful in any weather and the League to Save Lake Tahoe is working to ensure it stays that way.
Champs under a canopy of pine
Strolling into the Schumacher estate with a flute of Mumm Cordon Rouge surrounded by tall pines stretching into the sky and the strains of beautiful classical tunes dancing on the breeze, there was a feeling of being part of something special. It’s Tahoe’s major fashion event and quickly sells out when it’s announced on June 1st each year.
This year it honored of one of the lake’s most distinguished ambassadors, Adolphus Andrews. This great champion of the lake was who Saks Fifth Avenue first approached in 1969 to stage a beachfront fashion show here. From the humble beginnings of a show staged on sheets of plywood for an enthusiastic audience of picnicking summer residents, it has grown to this elegant event that has generated $16 million to fund the League’s many programs to keep Lake Tahoe blue.
Cocktails, dresses, and hats!
Surveying the lake’s dramatic vista, I enjoyed all the beauty around me—the water view, the towering pines, the people, and the fashions… This was the place to be for Northern California’s chic set and the fashion did not disappoint. Master photographer Drew Altizer artfully captured these gorgeous swans. In many cases I’ve opted for his images over my own as they are just so stellar.
The cocktail reception was hosted by Oliver Luxury Real Estate; their 2017 Luxury Collection book was offered to us in our gift bag. It’s chock-full of drool-worthy Tahoe properties, everything from a 129-acre lakefront ranch to Crystal Bay’s ultra lux modern masterpiece, “The Glass House” to a King’s Beach penthouse.
Lunch and live auction
Before I knew it, it was time for lunch and the much-anticipated live auction. We noshed on nibbles of Grisini with apples, honey, almonds, and Basque Chorizo and grilled asparagus before the tasty luncheon entree was served—Roasted Mary’s Airline Chicken Breast with Cheddar Corn Fritters, Haricot Vert, Bacon, Sweet Onion & Chive Salad topped with Peach Balsamic Salsa.
I was seated at a fun table. Across from me was Jo Normington, who has been attending the show for as long as she’s lived in Incline Village, five years. She and her friend Fran Perpich, who was visiting from Florida, charmed in their fascinators. I loved Jo’s Channel Dress and her whimsical Kate Spade bee bag!
Bill Watson and Shireen Piramoon of Thunderbird Lake Tahoe regaled me with stories of the fabulous Thunderbird Lodge and yacht, and their larger-than-life owner George Whittel. It’s a must on my next trip to Tahoe. We were all having such a good time, we toasted to the day.
I spied San Francisco’s sartorial yachtsman Scott Gordon and his beautiful girlfriend Rosemary Baker and went over to say hello. These two are always so chic. She sported Paule Ka sunglasses while Scott wore Gucci. Ever the yachtsman, Scott proudly showed off his Murray’s Nantucket Reds (from the legendary Murray’s Toggery Shop, of course) embroidered with the St. Francis Yacht Club burgee. He completed the look with a Fred Perry shirt and vintage Cricketer jacket.
Christie’s Robbie Gordy conducted the auction full of amazing items. One of the most coveted was unsurpassed access to Fashion Week with two up-front seats for Oscar de La Renta’s Fall 2018 Collection including a $10,000 gift certificate, AND a private champagne luncheon for seven guests with the president of Verdura! An escape to Turtle Island, where just 14 couples at a time enjoy 500 acres of serene forests and beaches; lunch for four, and private tour of the Lucasfilm & Industrial Light + Magic Production Hub; and a live painting of the fashion show by classically trained Talia Koval, who specializes in capturing the festive spirit in celebrations.
The grandest auction item was actually sold prior to the show. Diana Dollar Knowles’s classic 1931 Gar Wood Triple Cockpit Runabout Tamarack was donated by her daughter Dr. Heidi Hickingbotham Cary and her grandchildren Kimberley Cary Hersov, Darayn Hickingbotham, J. Hickingbotham, Wendy Cary, Carolyn Cary Alt, and Leslie Cary Buerger.
Tamarack has quite a history, having been owned for a time by the Cal-Neva Lodge as a “high roller” boat. It’s said to have ferried Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends before it was purchased by the Dollar family. The boat sold for $200,000 to a private bidder who has pledged to keep it on Lake Tahoe.
Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have been working to expand the Oscar de la Renta’s client base, and if this collection is any indication, it’s sure to be working. There was something there for everyone. The simple and elegant designs of Resort 2018 were inspired.
Nautical Navy: The show began with some nautically-inspired blue and white that were a perfect match for the lakeside environment—and how wonderful they’d look at the yacht club too!
Resort Brights: The oranges of ODLR Resort 2018 were mesmerizing. Resort wear is all about color for me, and these spoke of exotic designations yet to be discovered.
Traditional: Print fans would be happy to see them in gowns, dresses, shirts, and more.
Floral: It wouldn’t be an Oscar de la Renta show without flowers. There was enough floral appliqué to delight the most romantic of customers. The gowns were a crowd favorite.
Inspired geometry: A break from the standard resort wear, Kim and Garcia included modern plaids and shapes.
Cool girls of all stages and ages
There really was something for everyone in the show, and I liked seeing that little bit of an edge that might appeal to the new customer ODLR is aiming for. I especially enjoyed the wedding dress look with crinoline skirt and white denim jacket. It reminded me of the way Erika Bearman would style during her Oscar PR girl days. “Less ladies who lunch and more ladies who tweet at lunch,” as she used to say. It’s feminine and romantic but with a hip, modern vibe.
After the runway, it was on to the trunk show to see the lineup close. The atmosphere was festive with women trying on a variety of styles. The gowns were especially popular. The women looked amazing and everyone was having such a good time. I caught up with Dr. Carolyn Chang and Komal Shah, two great Oscar de la Renta fans, wearing Oscar of course.
“There is a new energy and I loved the designs. I loved meeting the new designers and really enjoyed the whole experience,” said Chang. Riccardo Benavides who styled the event was chatting with Nancy Kukacka, who had the highest praise for Oscar de la Renta, Saks and Riccardo in particular. “I’m a San Francisco girl and for everything fashion. I’m a huge supporter of Riccardo and Saks. I’m a fan,” said Nancy.
Sincerest kudos and many thanks to all who made this magnificent event happen, and especially to the League to Save Lake Tahoe Benefit Committee comprised of Barbara Brown, Edith Tobin, Heidi Cary, Jessica Hickingbotham, and Krista Giovara. I can see why it sells out each year. It’s for an amazing cause and beautifully executed. Lake Tahoe is a national treasure, I’m so happy it’s in such good hands.
Before we left, there was a parting gift: A little bit of Tahoe to take along with us in the form of a Keep Tahoe Blue cookie.