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Adiòs Oscar De La Renta

Oscar de la Renta, "sultan of suave", died at 82.

by Paola Perfetti
October 21st, 2014

Latin mood, international haute couture. Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died on Monday 20th October. He was 82.

The so called “sultan of suave” who dressed every first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton (the iconic pantsuit of Mrs. Clinton are made in de la Renta), and designed the wedding dresses for many of their children, including Jenna Bush and Chelsea Clinton, his dresses jazzed up Oprah Winfrey, Ann Hathaway and, most recently, George Clooney’s bride Amal Alamuddin.

“We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful,” former first lady Laura Bush said late Monday night.
The cause of his death, announced by close family friends and industry colleagues, was not immediately clear. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but said last year he was “totally clean.”

Oscar De La Renta was born July 22, 1932, in the Dominican Republic. He was the only son of seven children.
My father had different aspirations for me than I had for myself,” he told the “Fashion Talks” audience. “If I ever told my father I would become a fashion designer, he would drop dead on the spot.”

From my island side comes my love for the exotic, for color and light,” he told the New York Times.

At 18, he left for Spain to study at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. For a time, he dabbled in abstract art. But fashion was his passion, he soon discovered.
After the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain saw some of his dress sketches, she commissioned him to design a gown for her daughter.
The daughter and the dress appeared on the cover of Life magazine.
Emboldened, de la Renta switched his focus to fashion.

He landed an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, who was at the time Spain’s most acclaimed designer. He described that period as the beginning of his learning experience.

Next stop: Paris. Within a day of his arrival, he was offered a job at the reputed fashion house, Lanvin.
Two years later he moved to New York where he became a designer for Elizabeth Arden.

In 1965, the Oscar de la Renta brand was launched: “My customers are successful working women,” he said.
From there, he branched into fragrance, then into a home line, then into furniture.

Oscar de la Renta was the winner of numerous Cody awards, the fashion equivalent of the Oscars.
His creations were a fixture on the red carpet and in the Oval Office.

Last week, Oscar de la Renta — the company — announced the appointment of Peter Copping as creative director.
“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 said in a statement then.

Then, Monday, came the news of his death.
His first wife, Francoise de Langlade — a former editor of French Vogue — died of bone cancer in 1983. They had been married 16 years.
He leaves behind his second wife, Annette Engelhard Reed, whom he married in 1989. He also leaves behind a son.
“The fashion business says goodbye to a mentor, a legand & an icon,” designer Kenneth Cole tweeted Monday night. “He defined a standard we can only aspire to.”

Source: CNN

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