Last week, the fashion world experienced one of its greatest losses when designer Oscar de la Renta sadly passed away at the age of 82. The Dominican designer, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, left a great void in the lives of many Hollywood stars, less than a month after George Clooney’s wedding, where the bride wore a stunning creation by the great master himself.
The last representative of a generation of designers that revolutionised the fashion system of the 20th century, Oscar de la Renta went down in history for having dressed some of the most famous first ladies, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.
Today we pay tribute with this gallery that traces a career in film, thanks to the intuition of a Dominican priest who in the 1950’s persuaded a wealthy family of financiers to allow the then 18 year old Oscar to follow his dreams. In 1950 he arrived in Madrid, where he attended the art Academy of San Fernando and where he worked as an assistant to Balenciaga. In the 1960’s, he moved to Paris, where he refused a job offer by Christian Dior to enter Maison Lanvin, a defining moment which would create a unique and unmistakable style, consisting of elegance and an unmatched formal refinement.
In the next two decades, Oscar became creative director for Pierre Balmain, who consecrated the Olympus of Parisian haute couture, although his ties to Hollywood were always close by. Oscar de la Renta, the man who was defined as “dressing New York city with a Spanish accent” will live for decades on the laurels of the most glamorous red-carpet celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Kristen Stewart and Penelope Cruz, reaching the pinnacle of fame thanks to the Sex & The City movie where Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries on a dress by Oscar de la Renta in the run up to her wedding with Mr Big. In the series, a whole episode was dedicated entirely to Carrie receiving an Oscar de la Renta dress by her Russian lover.
In 1965 Oscar launched his own label and in 2006 the world was made an even better place when he launched his first bridal collection.