Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at the age of 82
The iconic Dominican fashion designer, known for his show-stopping evening gowns, has died after a long battle with cancer.
Amal Alamuddin's Wedding Dress
Oscar recently designed the wedding gown for the highly publicised wedding of lawyer Amal Alamuddin to Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney. As the bride told Vogue after the ceremony, ‘George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can't imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress.’
Remembered by his clients and family as a kind, loving man, de la Renta is often photographed smiling and laughing with his models or joyfully admiring his designs on the catwalk. His creations are celebrated for their classic, soft and elegant designs and show-stoppingly feminine gowns, so much so that Laura Bush described him as ‘the man who made women look and feel beautiful.’ Their sumptuous textures and rich fabrics have been hugely inspirational to the fashion world, his exquisite gowns featuring full, voluminous skirts, vibrant colours and stunning embroideries that epitomize the glamour of the red carpet.
From Balenciaga to ball gowns
Born to a wealthy family in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1932, Oscar moved to Madrid at the age of eighteen to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando. His developing interest in sketching fashion led him under the mentorship of famous couturier Cristobal Belenciaga, where his career began to flourish. Progressing through a number of different apprenticeships Oscar finally launched his own ready-to-wear label in New York in 1965. His signature label featured not only his gorgeous evening gowns but also fragrances, bridal wear, homewares and furnishings.
A visionary, Oscar de la Renta became famous for creating not merely evening dresses, but dresses that were to become works of art, swathing his models in silk-taffeta and chiffon that became his signature materials. As Oscar himself famously stated, ‘There is no sound more feminine than a woman in a taffeta dress.’ His much-loved work was recently featured in a retrospective at George W. Bush’s Presidential Library in July. His final catwalk collection, which was to be his last, drew inspiration from florals and the joys of spring, and was shown at New York fashion week in September.
'The gentleman of fashion you will always be'
Called ‘extraordinary’ by his Hollywood fans, news of his death is accompanied by great sadness from many who knew him. Supermodel Naomi Campbell described him in a tweet as ‘the gentleman of fashion’: indeed, this is how he will be remembered, polite, a self-described admirer of women, and perpetually respectful of those with whom he worked.
Oscar died of cancer at his home in Connecticut, surrounded by his family and friends. Former Nina Ricci designer Peter Copping now succeeds him as creative director of the Oscar de la Renta label.