Oscar de la Renta: A Farewell to a Fashion Legend April 19 2022
Some of the most beautiful red carpet gowns are from none other than Oscar de la Renta (Amy Adams at the 2013 Academy Awards? STUN.NING.). Oscar de la Renta died on October 20th 2014 after losing an eight-year–long battle with cancer. He was 82. To wish Oscar de la Renta a farewell, here are 5 things we love about the designer, through his own words:
“I don’t really know how to do casual clothes.”
“Being well-dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense.”
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”
“Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion. A runway is spectacle.”
“For me, my work is a celebration of a woman’s beauty and femininity. At the end of the day, I make dresses and I want to make her happy.”
And de la Renta’s clothes did make women happy. From his humble beginnings to his position as one of the most influential designers in the world, Oscar de la Renta consistently churned out stunning, elegant, feminine clothing women could wear and really feel beautiful in.
De la Renta was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1932 to a well-connected family, the only son amongst six daughters. When he was 19, de la Renta went to Madrid to study painting, and began drawing clothes for newspapers and fashion houses on the side for extra money. He soon became interested in the world of fashion design and began sketching for Spanish fashion houses. The wife of the US Ambassador to Spain (Francesca Lodge) saw some of his sketches and commissioned de la Renta to design a dress for her daughter, Beatrice—Beatrice later wore is on the cover of Life magazine. After that, de la Renta quickly landed an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga.
In 1961 de la Renta left Spain for a couture assistant at Lanvin’s house of fashion in Paris—the first Latino to be accepted in the hard-to-break-into Paris fashion houses. Four years later, after a brief stint at Elizabeth Arden’s American fashion house, Oscar de la Renta began his own ready-to-wear label. Over the decades, the de la Renta line was expanded to include such items as perfume, home décor, and children’s and bridal lines. His designs embody color, movement, and bold silhouettes. Whatever your reason for loving de la Renta, one thing is clear—his style and eye for dressing women in just the right way will be missed.