In Memoriam: Oscar de la Renta

Yesterday the world lost iconic fashion legend Oscar de la Renta. While the decline of Mr. de la Renta’s health was known, he has been battling cancer since 2006, his death came to much of the shock of the fashion industry. The designer was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932. Oscar lead a long career that started with him being mentored by Cristóbal Balenciaga after gaining an apprenticeship sketching for the designer. Following his time at Balenciaga in Spain, de la Renta took his skill to Paris where he worked as a couture assistant at the House of Lanvin and then the House of Christian Dior. In 1968, after a conversation with the then editor-in-chief of Vogue Diana Vreeland, Mr. de la Renta took his skill to the house of Elizabeth Arden. This move was the designers big break into the ready-to-wear business. Oscar stayed at Arden for two years before breaking ties and launching his own ready-to-wear label in 1965. Alongside his namesake label, Oscar de la Renta was the creative director for Pierre Balmain Haute Couture from 1993 to 2002. The Oscar de la Renta empire includes his womenswear line, childrenswear line, bridal line, handbags, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, housewares, as well as the boutique hotel Tortuga Club at the PUNTACANA Resort and Club. In his long career Oscar dressed everyone from first ladies Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Regan, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and his very good friend Hilary Clinton, stars of the screen like Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner, Taylor Swift, and Audrey Hepburn. The designer famously said “every season I am inspired by women.” And each time he did also saying “we’re dealing with sophisticated customers. What’s most important to these women is individuality. I have to create things she’ll want to wear, no matter who she is.” The designer will be deeply missed by all that knew him and those, like me, who were only able to admire him from afar.

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