Date
22 November 2017
Oscar de la Renta dressed US first ladies including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. Photo: Fibre Magazine
Oscar de la Renta dressed US first ladies including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. Photo: Fibre Magazine

Oscar de la Renta, 82: He lived, loved and laughed

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died after a battle with cancer, ABC News reported Tuesday, citing a family member.

De la Renta famously dressed Jacqueline Kennedy and most recently designed the wedding dress of Amal Alamuddin for her Sept. 29 wedding to George Clooney.

He is survived by his wife Annette Engelhard and son Moises. De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, he left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid.

It was there he developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, who became his mentor, and landed a job with Lanvin in Paris. Soon after, he moved to New York City.

“When I first arrived here in 1963, all the names on clothes were the name of [the store],” he told Gotham magazine last year.

“You made your clothes, you sold them to the store, and they quickly removed the label and put the label of the store. If it was a dress at Saks Fifth Avenue, the label was Saks Fifth Avenue. Bergdorf Goodman was Bergdorf Goodman. But it was a time of transition.”

In 1965, de la Renta launched his own label and soon caught the eye of Kennedy. Other first ladies including Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton would follow suit, as well as a bevy of A-listers from Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock to Jessica Biel and countless others.

He also designed a successful bridal line, including Clooney’s wedding gown.

“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,” she told Vogue last month.

“Meeting him made the design process all the more magical as he is so warm and such a gentleman.”

De la Renta, won a host of fashion awards in his lifetime, including two Council of Fashion Designers Designer of the Year Awards, a CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award and two COTY Awards.

“A huge mistake we make is forgetting that one day we will die. We think that we are going to live forever. I always say life is a little like a garden. There is a time to plant, then a time you have to weed,” he said.

“Just think about people you’ve deeply cared for. And then think of the people you wish you’d spent more time with,” he told Gotham. “I always say this: Live, love and laugh.”

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RA

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