A man with a formidable presence, humour and talent. Not only was he the go to designer for many of the worlds celebrities but he was also their plus one at many events around the world, so loved was he.
Born in the Dominican Republic, he travelled to Madrid to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando when he was just 18. His introduction to fashion began there, after he was enlisted by Cristóbal Balenciaga to sketch for him. He then went to Paris, where he worked at Lanvin, before moving to New York in the early Sixties where he set up his label.
What is most amazing that during his last ten year battle with cancer his profits grew by up to 50% to $150million in sales and perhaps one of his most recents coups was designing the wedding dress for George Clooney’s beautiful bride Amal Alamuddin in Venice. Normally he didn’t dwell on the subject of his legacy. In an interview in 2009, at his home in Punta Cana, in his native Dominican Republic, he said of fashion: “Somebody might ask, ‘What is Oscar de la Renta?’ And you could say, ‘It’s a pretty dress.’” Instead he would prefer to dish the dirt or talk about his much loved vegetable garden.
One of my personal favourite memories was of a man who had much common sense when it came to fashion. He once offered to send a three way mirror to every fashion editor who wore mini skirts to work! “Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion,” Mr. de la Renta once said. “A runway is spectacle. It’s only fashion when a woman puts it on. Being well dressed hasn’t much to do with having good clothes. It’s a question of good balance and good common sense.”
In addition to his wife, Annette, Mr. de la Renta is survived by a son, Moises; three sisters; three stepchildren; and nine step-grandchildren.
RIP Mr De La Renta. Both you and your beautiful dresses will be missed.