All About Oscar

The fashion world saluted and honored Oscar de la Renta who died in October 2014 aged 82.


Oscar de la Renta, here with Anna Wintour, backstage at one of his fashion shows in 2006

Among those who got to know him he was universally acknowledged as a warm and kind personality; for many women around the world, he was a kind of style icon.

Oscar de la Renta was born on July 22, 1932 in Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic and moved to Spain at age 18. In Madrid he studied painting, but quickly turned his interest towards designing women’s fashion. In 1957, he got a job at the Elsa couture atelier of Balenciaga. After receiving offers from Dior and Lanvin, he continued his education in Paris and was Antonio Castillo’s assistant for Lanvin. After moving to New York in 1963, he worked for Elizabeth Arden, specializing in “ready-to-wear” fashion. With his own brand, which he founded in 1965, he was quickly successful. In 1992, de la Renta was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Paris couture fashion house Balmain, a very special honor for a US designer. He remained there for ten years.

Oscar de la Renta attended many events and parties, of which his own were legendary. According to the “New York Times”, Norman Mailer and Henry Kissinger were among his guests. During that time, Francois Langlade, editor of the French “Vogue” and de la Renta’s first wife, was always at his side. When he died in 1983, he found himself faced with his greatest fear: loneliness. “I thought, my son and me would stay alone forever, “ he once said in an interview. However, he found love again: in a good friend of him and Francois, Annette Reed. The couple married in 1989 and lived in Kent, CT until recently.

                                                                                                          Oscar de la Renta runway show at Lake Tahoe, 2013

De la Renta is known for his feminine style and won some of the most prestigious awards of the fashion industry. For many years, he was the chairman of the Professional Association of American fashion designers. He was regarded as a gentleman and a charmer and was popular for his generosity and zest for life. Politicians, actors, lawyers, businesswomen – Oscar de la Renta had them all dressed. “I’ve always considered it my duty as a designer to do my best to make a woman look as good as possible”, he once said. He was involved in bringing Hillary Clinton, when she was still First Lady, on the cover of “Vogue”. The former First Lady Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Nicky Hilton, Taylor Swift, they and many more mourn Oscar de la Renta. With his fashion he took part in many of the most important moments of their lives. One of his last works was the wedding dress of George Clooney’s bride Amal Alamuddin.

In 2002, “Vanity Fair” asked him what his idea of absolute happiness was and he answered: “To be at home in Kent with my wife, my family, my dogs and friends.” And how he would like to die? “While sleeping and dreaming of my loved ones.”

RIP Oscar de la Renta, one of the world’s greatest fashion designers.


                                                                                                                      Amal at her final fitting with the designer.