A New Era at Lake Tahoe Fashion Event

Saks Fifth Avenue will present the Oscar de la Renta resort 2016 collection at its annual lakeside fashion show, lunch and benefit event for the League to Save Lake Tahoe on August 1, 2015. A summer favorite for the local fashion set since 1969, this year marks the start of a new era. Unknown to attendees at the time, last year was Oscar de la Renta’s final appearance at Lake Tahoe. The Oscar de la Renta collection on the runway next week is from Peter Copping, the new creative director appointed upon de la Renta’s death in October 2014.  

Oscar de la Renta’s first visit to Lake Tahoe for the fashion show with Saks Fifth Avenue was in 1995; he followed Bill Blass as the featured designer for the event since 1969. Oscar de la Renta’s first Lake Tahoe show was at Thunderbird Lodge, a stone and granite estate on the lake’s east shore, built in the 1930s by eccentric millionaire George Whittell.

The first Saks Fifth Avenue fashion show by the lake was on August 16, 1969. Late San Francisco-Tahoe philanthropist and socialite Diana Dollar Knowles conspired with Saks Fifth Avenue and a few of her notable friends to bring American designer Bill Blass to Lake Tahoe. The invitation read: The League to Save Lake Tahoe and Saks Fifth Avenue invite you to a picnic and fashion showing of the Bill Blass collection … at the Rubicon Beach House of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Metcalfe. Tickets were $15. 

In the early days it was a casual, dress-down event. According to late San Francisco Chronicle social columnist Pat Steger, jeans, shorts and t-shirts were the coolest looks. Nowadays it is a lot dressier. Participants will not only watch the runway for the latest fashions, but also put on a fashion show of their own, donning hats and summer ensembles in all shapes and colors.

Photos by Drew Altizer Photography

The luncheon has evolved to more than a picnic, with a guest list of 630 this year. The location is the five acre Kern Schumacher estate, lakeside at Incline Village. Event chairs Barbara Brown, Edith Tobin, Jessica Hickingbotham and Heidi Cary did not even print invitations, as the event sold out just days after the date announcement. Stay tuned for Red Carpet Bay Area coverage.

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