Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo, better known as Oscar de la Renta (July 22, 1932 – October 20, 2014), was a talented fashion designer hailing from the Dominican Republic. He was born in Santo Domingo and had the privilege of learning his craft under the guidance of renowned designers Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo.
During the 1960s, Oscar de la Renta gained international fame for being one of the esteemed couturiers responsible for dressing Jacqueline Kennedy, the iconic former First Lady of the United States. He also lent his creative touch to renowned fashion houses like Lanvin and Balmain. Notably, his own fashion brand, with its distinct name, boasts boutiques all over the world, including prestigious locations like Harrods in London and the lively Madison Avenue in New York.
Oscar de la Renta has been battling cancer since 2006, but the cause of his death has not been revealed.
De la Renta has dressed first ladies since Jaqueline Kennedy wore his designs during the 60s, which propelled him to start his own brand in 1965.
He continued to design beautiful gowns for Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton. Earlier this year an exhibit showcased Oscar de la Renta’s “Five Decades of Style” demonstrating “the First Lady as our country’s official hostess to world leaders and diplomats and as a trendsetter in style [and] fashion,” stated the museum, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Texas.
Red carpet events that were adorned by movie stars that wore Oscar de la Renta designs will still experience the New York based brand with Peter Copping as the new creative director, who was just appointed last week.
Things to Know About Oscar De la Renta:
- He was born July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic.
- At 18, he left for Spain to study at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.
- He landed an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, who was at the time Spain’s most acclaimed designer.
- On a trip to Paris he was offered a job at the reputed fashion house, Lanvin.
- Two years later, he moved to New York where he became a designer for Elizabeth Arden.
- He loved a good game of dominoes. He was the consummate diplomat, but just as happy playing dominoes in the kitchen with his chef,” Anna Wintour told WWD.
- He was a singer. In 1996, he released an album of Spanish love songs titled “Recordando Amores Imposible,” and was known to serenade the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker at his NYC store’s Fashion’s Night Out events.
- After the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain saw some of his dress sketches, she commissioned him to design a gown for her daughter. This dress was featured in Life Magazine.
- In 1965, the Oscar de la Renta brand was launched, changing the face of fashion with its ready-to-wear collection.
- He was the winner of numerous Cody awards, the fashion equivalent of the Oscars.
- He dressed Nancy Reagan and provided the inaugural gown for Laura Bush. He is also responsible for the look Hillary Clinton and Michell Obama
- He was committed to his home country De la Renta built an orphanage and school for the children of La Romana called La Casa del Niño. The school cares for 1,200 children a day, allowing their mothers to work. Because of his commitments, de la Renta was honored with the Order of Juan Pablo Duarte and the Order of Cristóbal Colón by the Dominican Republic.
- He leaves behind his second wife, Annette Engelhard Reed, whom he married in 1989. He also leaves behind a son.