Oleg!

Jackie's former couturier is still designing at 91

There are those who delicately sip from the fountain of youth . . . and others who must be chug-a-lugging it. Oleg Cassini, Jackie's former Camelot couturier and onetime Grace Kelly fiance, refuses to put down the sewing thread at a whopping 91 years old. His latest project is a spring 2005 resort wear collection in mostly white, made exclusively for Lord & Taylor. In honor of this new line and the 50th anniversary of Cassini's first window displays for the Fifth Avenue flagship, the same store is presenting a window display entitled "Oleg Cassini: Then and Now," a selection of Cassini's current works alongside a few of his more famous vintage gala numbers, through February 9.

Cassini's most recent success has been with his David's Bridal gown collection, but a desire to do a resort line came about when he noticed young girls going out to parties with merely a flashy top tossed over an everyday pair of jeans. He saw an opportunity here: "I thought that in the marketplace there wasn't a design line for jeans that are a little bit dressy. It was necessary to have that." While there are a few black-tie items thrown in to this new collection-crisp silk pantsuits and long sheaths with matching scarves-Cassini's clearly catering to the young socialite girl on a hot night on the town, and not a demure evening at the opera. To that end, we imagine those silk crystal-studded halter tops for almost $300 a pop selling quite well with their target audience.

It's a bold move, casting a whole line almost entirely in white-but the daring (and completely lucid) Cassini is not about to shy away from his vision. And as he's relayed to us, he plans on designing for as long as he damn well feels like it: "No reason to not. Talent doesn't disappear. I happen to be in fantastic shape."

Indeed.

 
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