News and Analysis
Oscar de la Renta dies at 82: watch his last fashion show
Oscar de la Renta dies aged 82. One of the most sought-after fashion designers of the last half century, dressing American first ladies and Hollywood stars in his classic silhouettes, died on Monday. An individual taking calls at the designer’s residence in Connecticut on Monday evening (reportedly his wife Annette) confirmed his death, first reported by ABC News. The New York Times said de la Renta died of complications from cancer. Though ill with cancer intermittently for close to eight years, Mr. de la Renta was resilient. During that period his business grew by 50 percent, to $150 million in sales, as his name became linked to celebrity events like the Oscars. De la Renta was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932. He left home at the age of 18 to study painting in Madrid, Spain but decided instead to pursue fashion design. He eventually worked as an apprentice to Cristobal Balenciaga, Spain’s most celebrated couturier. The late ’60s and early ’70s were a defining moment in U.S. fashion as New York-based designers finally carved a look of their own that was finally taken seriously by Europeans. De la Renta and his peers, including the late Bill Blass, Roy Halston and Geoffrey Beene, defined American style – and their influence is still spotted today. Oscar’s feminine aesthetic – borrowing sexiness from his Latin heritage and tempering it with a demure cut, learned in Europe – as well as his easy, friendly demeanour, quickly made him a favourite with society ladies. Tall and handsome, he became not only the go-to designer, but also a favourite plus one, of famous women – from models and actresses to first ladies. Recently his biggest coup was to make the ivory tulle gown that Amal Alamuddin wore to wed George Clooney in Venice. Although the designer always made it clear that he had no intention of retiring, he enlisted his brand’s first creative director tearlierhis month. Peter Copping joined the New York brand from Nina Ricci, ending months of speculation about who might be De la Renta’s chosen talent.