Fashion mogul Oscar de la Renta has died, aged 82.
The acclaimed Dominican designer passed away on Monday at his home in Kent, Connecticut, his wife Annette de la Renta has confirmed.
She did not divulge the exact cause of her husband’s death, but de la Renta had been intermittently battling cancer since his initial diagnosis in 2006.
A handwritten statement signed by two of his company’s executives, son-in-law Alex Bolen and stepdaughter Eliza Bolen, reads:
“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 into high society in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1932. At the age of 18, he moved to Madrid, Spain to study painting in at the Academy of San Fernando. There he developed his love for sketching fashion designs, and it led to a coveted apprenticeship with top Spanish couturier Cristobal Belenciaga, and assistant jobs at French fashion houses Lanvin and Balmain in Paris.
In 1963, he moved to New York City to work for designer Jane Derby at Arden, and two years later (1965), he launched his own ready-to-wear label at the age of 33.
His feminine and flowing gowns caught the eye of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who made de la Renta her go-to designer for many years.
Other first ladies including Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton were also big fans. Earlier this year Laura Bush, feted de la Renta at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, Texas in a retrospective titled Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style, which featured more than 60 of his impeccable gowns.
His designs were beloved and worn by A-list fashionistas, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington and countless others.
Most recently, he collaborated with George Clooney’s now-wife Amal on her wedding gown for her September nuptials in Italy.
The British lawyer told Vogue last month, “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. Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman.”
Over his 50 year career, de la Renta was honored with numerous awards, including two Council of Fashion Designers Designer of the Year Awards, a CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, two Coty American Fashion Critics’ Awards, the Gold Medal Award from the King and Queen of Spain, the Legion d’honneur as a Commande from France, and the order al Merito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristobol Colon from his native Dominican Republic.
De la Renta was married to French Vogue editor Francois Langlade for 16 years until her death in 1983. He is survived by his second wife, Annette, three stepchildren, and his adopted son Moises.
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