It has been a very sad year for fashionistas. First, model Peaches Geldof died of heroin-overdose in April, then fashion critic and comedian, Joan Rivers died of cardiac arrest in September (full article here). Now, it is the turn of well-renowned fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, to leave us forever, at the age of 82.
Oscar de la Renta (1932 – 2014), of the eponymous brand, was well-known as a favourite designer for First Ladies. In fact, it was in the 1960s that he started to be internationally well-known, being one of the couturiers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy.
Having Spanish ancestry, de la Renta studied art at the University of Madrid and there, soon realised that fashion and designing clothes were in reality, his true passion.
Being one of the USA’s most renowned fashion designers, de la Renta has a portfolio spanning six decades and the honour of having dressed noted personages starting from Betty Ford, to Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. His style and fashion also made him the preferred provider of evening wear for singers and divas of the big and small screen, such as Beyonce, Sarah Jessica Parker and Penelope Cruz. He was mentioned in all the media recently, since he was the designer of Amal Alamuddin’s wedding dress for her September wedding to George Clooney.
De la Renta died on Monday, 20 October at his home in Connecticut, surrounded by his family.
He was well-known to specialise in evening wear, especially when it came to voluminous skirts, detailed embroidery and brilliant colours. In one of the episodes of the fashion-oriented series, Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw even mentions his work and compares his designs to poetry (for all SATC aficionados, late in Season 6, Carrie wears a de la Renta dress to spend an evening at the Met with ‘the Russian’).
Apart from winning numerous fashion and designer awards, Oscar de la Renta was a celebrated patron of the arts, and a board member of The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, among others. He also contributed to various children’s charities, as well as helped fund schools and day-care centres in La Romana and Punta Cana in his native country, the Dominican Republic.
Alina Cho, fashion journalist and editor, describes him as ‘a true gentleman, in the truest sense of the word — a real bright light – this is just a terrible, terrible loss for the fashion world’.
Let’s hope, that there are no more such losses in the fashion world, this year.