Legendary fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, has died at the age of 82. He had been battling cancer since 2006 and his death was confirmed by family members and close colleagues: “While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much us. Oscar’s hard work, his intelligence and his love of life are at the heart of our company. All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit. Through Oscar’s example we know the way forward. We will make Oscar very proud of us by continuing in an even stronger way the work that Oscar loved so much.”
de la Renta was born July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic. He said that the island influenced his creativity and use of bright colors in his designs. At the age of 18, de la Renta went to Spain to study painting and apprenticed with Cristobal Balenciaga, who at the time was Spain’s most acclaimed designer. He moved to Paris to work at the iconic fashion house, Lanvin and Balmain, where he finessed his designs and skills. Two years later, de la Renta moved to New York City, where he designed with Elizabeth Arden before launching his fashion line in 1965. His designs single handedly changed the face of fashion and he soon became known as one of the top fashion designers in the world. His creations did not stop there. He expanded his brand, and launched a fragrance and home furniture line.
de la Renta styled some of the most notable figures in history, from Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, to celebrities such as Beyonce and Naomi Campbell.
When de la Renta’s death was announced via social media, fans, friends, and celebrities immediately expressed their condolences for the fashion guru. Taylor Swift, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner, Naomi Campbell, and Gloria Estefan are just some of the few who have posted on Twitter and/or Instagram, stating how they will miss de la Renta and his beautifully unique fashion designs. They paid tribute by sharing photos of themselves wearing his timeless gowns. Parker dedicated a whole episode of her hit tv series, Sex and the City, to him. Swift shared a photo of her stunning Met Gala gown, which she wore in May, via Instagram, captioning the picture, “My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.” Amal Alamuddin (George Clooney’s wife) and de la Renta were photographed together for the Vogue spread on their high profile Italian wedding last month. He designed her wedding gown.
Jennifer Garner told Elle Magazine: “He was just gracious and elegant and a gentleman. Mr. De la Renta loved women. And you saw it in every design that he did. He honored women’s features, he honored our bodies. He wasn’t afraid to pull back and let the woman be the star of the look. And I was just lucky to get to wear his designs and get to know him a little bit, just the tiniest bit, as a person.”
His death may come as a shock to most of us, however the rumor of his illness had been circulating throughout the industry for some time. Last week, the Oscar de la Renta company announced the appointment of Peter Copping as the creative director.
At that time, de la Renta had released a statement regarding his decision to do so: “Our Industry has not always done the best job when it comes to changes in design leadership. My hope is that, in leading this selection, and actively participating in the transition, I can insure the right design future for our company and brand”.
de la Renta is survived by his wife, Annette, and his adopted son Moises, a designer at his label.