When it comes to fashion royalty, there’s hardly a name more regal than de la Renta. Last week though, it was the son, not the father, who was the center of attention at the Crosby Hotel celebrating the unveiling of his new line of limited edition T-shirts, dubbed MDLR for Mango.
Moises de la Renta has been earning accolades on his own since starting his label a year ago. His downtown-cool-meets-uptown-refinement style has caught the attention of everyone from the cynical fashion media to First Lady Michelle Obama, who wore one of Moises’ dresses from his Fall 2009 collection.
The collaboration with Spanish retailer Mango marks the young designer’s introduction into the mainstream. We spoke to Moises about the collaboration and what New York represents for him. Here’s what he had to say. —Adrien Field
VIBE: This collection is so feminine. What did you have in mind?
Moises de la Renta: You know, I wanted to kind of take it back to basics and do something a little out of my comfort zone because as you know you get here to New York and you kind of get wrapped up into the whole, “black look” with jeans, sportswear, and attitude. So I asked, “How can I incorporate my aesthetic with feminine pieces that will be accepted by a wider audience range?” So I started thinking [about] classical romantic images.
There was a bit of Degas in the skirts.
It’s funny that you say that because that was one of my inspirations. Other than that it was flowers and I said let me just do something chic, classy, and still have a little bit of edge. The graphics may be feminine, but if you look some of the pieces have variety. For example, one tee has leather appliqué. There are many ways that one can merge these two worlds, “the uptown and the downtown” aesthetic into one. That’s what I really wanted to do with these T-shirts. You can pair them with a pencil skirt or a pair of jeans. I think that’s what’s great about it, the versatility.
Do you personally feel more of an uptown or downtown vibe?
Personally, I feel in an awkward kind of middle zone. I think I can relate a little more to downtown just because I’m young and my lifestyle relates. However, my when I came to New York I had the image of the classic town with Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra “out on the town” and the glitz and glamour. That was when I was young. Like I would say, “I want to go to New York!” it’s like this is what life’s about. So that’s what drew me in to it, but then there’s another side to New York that is like very real and… grungy and raw. So I really wanted to try and incorporate both of these elements. I have succeeded with that with this Mango project.
My personal line is a little more of a downtown vibe, but there’s always an uptown element. There’s always that little spark of uptown.
Would you say that you were inspired from growing up around gorgeous gowns?
Yes, in general though whether it’s that or classic Hollywood images, classic romanticism of New York. You always think of the “night on the town,” the limos, the beautiful ball gowns, and black ties. This is the ideal image that you see when you think of New York; for example, the iconic show Sex and the City. The line is very Carrie with the tu-tu skirts and T-shirts. Even if you don’t live the lifestyle 100 percent, coming to New York, that’s what everyone imagines.
MDLR for Mango will hit stores in mid-April. You can shop for the collection online at www.mangoshop.com.