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Oscar de la Renta is a Dominican-born American fashion designer whose work, blending European luxury with American ease.
Oscar de la Renta is a Dominican-born American fashion designer whose work, blending European luxury with American ease, helped define standards of elegant dressing among society circles in the late 20th and the early 21st century.
De la Renta received an international fashion education. At 18 he left the Dominican Republic to study painting at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. There, he began working as an illustrator for fashion houses, a position that led eventually to the post of assisting Spain’s leading designer, Cristobal Balenciaga. In 1961 he settled in Paris and worked as the assistant to Lanvin-Castillo’s head designer, Antonio del Castillo, before moving to New York City in 1963 to design the couture and ready-to-wear collections for Elizabeth Arden. In 1965 he established his own eponymous company in New York.De la Renta’s label quickly came to represent casual luxury to society women‚ Äîmany of them friends of his then-wife, Francoise de Langlade, editor of French Vogue‚ Äîamong whom he effortlessly circulated.
He first gained attention for his gypsy- and Russian-inspired collections in the late 1960s and early ’70s, which suggested the cosmopolitan sophistication that would characterize his creative output over the following decades. These collections were always distinctly modern, yet they also possessed a romantic, feminine quality, reflecting his grounding in both American sportswear and European couture. Consistent elements of his vision include a vibrant colour palette, delicate silk prints, the use of ruffles, and soft silhouettes. He is perhaps best known for his evening wear and suits for women, which over the years became wardrobe staples for his faithful clientele of socialites and for former First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Nancy Reagan, and Hillary Clinton. His label also produced menswear, accessories, perfume, and fine china.
“THE GREAT THING ABOUT FASHION IS THAT IT ALWAYS LOOKS FORWARD.”