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Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer, dies at 82

Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-born fashion designer who reshaped the public image of first ladies, society muses and red-carpet regulars with grand evening wear that celebrated Latin sensuality, European refinement and American versatility, died Oct. 20 at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82.

A family representative answering the phone at his home confirmed the death but did not provide further details. He revealed in 2011 that he had a bout with cancer earlier that year.

An astute businessman with an eye for vibrant color, Mr. de la Renta polished his eponymous label into a global empire that sold perfume, accessories, furniture and, above all, elegant clothing.

During a half-century of prominence on New York’s fashion nexus — Seventh Avenue — he asserted himself as a creative entrepreneur and vivacious society player who gained access to the nation’s most esteemed women and an invitation to define how the public saw them.

He was the first Latino to be accepted into the exclusive ranks of Parisian fashion houses. Later as a U.S. citizen, he became the first American to design for a French couture house. All the while, Mr. de la Renta was building a brand that, in exclusive circles and in small-town bridal salons alike, was known by one word: Oscar.

His exuberant frocks won the trust of customers and he set formal standards for women of taste. He gave them — no matter their age or shape — the confidence to be eye-catching. “I love all his clothes because of his sense of color,” Nancy Kissinger, wife of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, said in a 2002 pictorial biography of the designer. “There’s something very staggering about the combinations he chooses.”

Mr. de la Renta, whose dresses cost many thousands of dollars, was the master of entrance-making looks. Manhattan doyennes, Hollywood stars and Washington figures sought out his label. He designed then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s coral swearing-in ensemble in 1997, first lady Laura Bush’s twinkling beaded inaugural gown in 2005, and senatorial spouse Cindy McCain’s golden full-skirted dress for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Just last month, he provided Amal Alamuddin’s gown for her wedding to George Clooney.

Formal gowns have long favored pale goddess-style silhouettes, and daywear often dwelled on the drab. But Valerie Steele, a historian at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, saw Mr. de la Renta’s couture influence in his bright combinations and full skirts and sleeves. “He’s a really good colorist,” and his clothes project “a European sense of decorum, a magnificence,” she said. “He has not stuck to one look; he’s evolved as fashion has evolved.”

Mr. de la Renta told The Washington Post in 2001: “When I started designing clothes for women in the ’60s, my typical customer got dressed in a suit and had lunch with friends. Today she’s on the list of endangered species.”

Many of today’s customers, even the ones with packed social calendars, now wake up in the morning and head to an office. Mr. de la Renta, through his well-cut pantsuits and jackets, goes along with them.

Oscar Aristides Renta Fiallo was born in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on July 22, 1932. His father, who had come from Puerto Rico, owned an insurance business and expected his only son to follow him into the family trade. But his mother and six sisters lavished the boy with attention, and the family priest, a Spaniard, encouraged his aesthetic interests and bought him a set of paints. Against his father’s inclination, Mr. de la Renta enrolled in art school.

After his mother’s death, the 18-year-old Mr. de la Renta embarked on a European ad­ven­ture that began in the salons of Madrid, where he had introductions. Though interested in abstract painting, he sketched a gown that caught the eye of the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Spain, John Lodge. She commissioned a gown for their debutante daughter, Beatrice, who wore it on the cover of Life magazine.

Mr. de la Renta set aside his brushes and proceeded to fashion design jobs at Balenciaga and Lanvin-Castillo, first in Madrid, then in Paris. At night, he danced at Regine’s, among young Parisian swells such as actress Catherine Deneuve and director Roger Vadim.

At a runway show, he met Françoise de Langlade, the fashion editor of French Vogue, 12 years his senior and with far more tastemaking influence than the suave newcomer. The two began a relationship after he moved in 1963 to New York, where he set about to meet Elizabeth Arden, the clothing and cosmetics empress. He surmised later that, for all his attempts to dazzle Arden with letters and designs, she probably hired him to steal away talent from his boss, Antonio Castillo, who had long ago left her employ.

As Mr. de la Renta was launching his own line, de Langlade joined him in the United States. Later, as a married couple, the two opened their exotic and warm apartment and Connecticut country house to uptowners and creative professionals, with Mr. de la Renta honing his skills at entertaining and decorating.

As he and Françoise appeared in society pages and luxury magazines, his business took off, reinforcing that a designer could project an entire lifestyle that he inhabited. Because of the public persona that he and a few peers were developing, retail executives made an unusual business decision for that age: to leave the designer’s label in the garment instead of the store’s alone. American shopping was never the same.

In 1972, Mr. de la Renta built a grand vacation house in his native country, and even as his international status rose, he knew that acceptance was complicated. In December 1974, the de la Rentas attended their first White House state dinner, in honor of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

In a 2002 interview for an authorized biography, Mr. de la Renta recalled getting ready at the Watergate Hotel. “When we were dressing, I put my arm in my shirt and it wouldn’t go in! The maid had packed Françoise’s tuxedo shirt instead of mine,” he said.

Mr. de la Renta ran to the only Watergate shop still open at 7 p.m. and bought the only option: a white shirt with ruffles edged in black. “It was my worst nightmare come true!” he said in the biography. “You know, I really admire people who wear colored shirts, shirts with flowers on them — but I am always afraid that if I do, someone will say, ‘Sorry, the Latin band goes in the other door.’ ”

Mr. de la Renta’s camera-ready gowns were favored by his tall and tasteful friends such as Kissinger and Pat Buckley, the socialite wife of conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. Vogue in the early 1980s was dressing its youthful cover subjects (Brooke Shields, Kim Alexis, Sheila Johnson) in de la Renta. But he didn’t work only for the elites — in 1980, he redesigned the Boy Scout uniform.

Amid his growing fortunes was a personal tragedy. In 1983, Françoise died of breast cancer. A year later, Mr. de la Renta was moved by the story of an abandoned infant being cared for at the orphanage he supported in the Dominican Republic. He adopted the boy, Moises.

In 1989, Mr. de la Renta married Annette Reed, an heiress and widow with three children. Besides his wife, survivors include Moises and three stepchildren.

Nancy Reagan included Mr. de la Renta among her preferred designers, along with James Galanos and Bill Blass. Her mission to bring glamour back to the White House made Mr. de la Renta, known for gentlemanly manners, a natural confidant to a first lady.

He touted her as a “model-size” political wife who “knew what looked good on her and had a true sense of fashion.” She rewarded him with many invitations to the White House.

Years later, Mr. de la Renta persuaded Clinton to put aside her mostly safe wardrobe in favor of dramatic pastels.

An early signature look was the pale-blue suit she wore at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Then when word leaked out that Clinton had chosen Mr. de la Renta to design her wardrobe for her husband’s second inauguration, he would not dish before the event. “She wants to have some element of surprise,” the designer told The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan in January 1997. Clinton lit up the parade route in a de la Renta coral suit and then dazzled the balls in a gold-lace gown, with matching cape.

Soon she posed for Annie Leibovitz in the Red Room in a black velvet de la Renta dress for the December 1998 cover of Vogue, the first president’s wife to do so. In their post-presidency years, both Clintons, now New Yorkers, grew personally closer to the de la Rentas.

Laura Bush became a de la Renta devotee after her husband was elected president. She wore some of his clothes at her own Vogue session with Leibovitz. “After the photo shoot, we called for a look book,” Laura Bush recalled in an interview with The Post. “I went to his studio and of course . . . like all women, I was immediately in love with Oscar.”

For her husband’s 2005 swearing-in, Bush wore a winter white coat and suit by Mr. de la Renta, and the ice-blue tulle gown she wore that night remains her favorite by him.

Mr. de la Renta’s clothes became a staple of Bush women’s wardrobes; he designed first daughter Jenna’s wedding gown, as well as Laura Bush’s turquoise mother-of-the-bride dress.

“What I will miss so much about Oscar is that confidence he gave me,” Laura Bush said. “He had a wonderful talent — for being able to see what looks best on women, what shapes make women look their best and what colors are the most flattering.”

Mr. de la Renta was one of a very few American designers who drew the eye of an international clientele that favored the haute-couture houses of Europe. As a sign of his social smarts, he charmed those clients — Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Marella Agnelli, Babe Paley — as well as his fellow couturiers — Yves Saint Laurent, Blass, Valentino. Plus, he has attracted red-carpet icons-in-the-making: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Hudson, Lea Michele.

His prices reflect his stature: $5,845 for a ruffled one-shoulder crepe gown, $6,235 for a feather-trimmed jersey gown, $13,990 for an embroidered floral cloque gown.

As much as the influential set shaped his reputation, he insisted that the customer was always right. “Unfortunately, success is not what fashion editors like: That is something that comes when an anonymous woman in the street wants to wear it,” he said in the biography.

Throughout his life, he emanated a joie de vivre that made him seem as if he had it all. “If my life were to end now, I would have no regrets,” he said on his 40th birthday, as recounted in “The Fashion Makers,” a 1978 survey of U.S. designers. “I’ve lived every day to the fullest, and I’ve had a marvelous time. I’ve tried to be nice to the people I care about, and ignore the ones I don’t. I enjoy what I’ve done.”

jura.koncius@washpost.com

Martel is a former Washington Post staff writer.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/oscar-de-la-renta-fashion-designer-dies-at-82/2014/10/20/da5b88e4-72cf-11e1-ab86-1f92b6642693_story.html

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer, dies at 82

Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-born fashion designer who reshaped the public image of first ladies, society muses and red-carpet regulars with grand evening wear that celebrated Latin sensuality, European refinement and American versatility, died Oct. 20 at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82.

A family representative answering the phone at his home confirmed the death but did not provide further details. He revealed in 2011 that he had a bout with cancer earlier that year.

An astute businessman with an eye for vibrant color, Mr. de la Renta polished his eponymous label into a global empire that sold perfume, accessories, furniture and, above all, elegant clothing.

During a half-century of prominence on New York’s fashion nexus — Seventh Avenue — he asserted himself as a creative entrepreneur and vivacious society player who gained access to the nation’s most esteemed women and an invitation to define how the public saw them.

He was the first Latino to be accepted into the exclusive ranks of Parisian fashion houses. Later as a U.S. citizen, he became the first American to design for a French couture house. All the while, Mr. de la Renta was building a brand that, in exclusive circles and in small-town bridal salons alike, was known by one word: Oscar.

His exuberant frocks won the trust of customers and he set formal standards for women of taste. He gave them — no matter their age or shape — the confidence to be eye-catching. “I love all his clothes because of his sense of color,” Nancy Kissinger, wife of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, said in a 2002 pictorial biography of the designer. “There’s something very staggering about the combinations he chooses.”

Mr. de la Renta, whose dresses cost many thousands of dollars, was the master of entrance-making looks. Manhattan doyennes, Hollywood stars and Washington figures sought out his label. He designed then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s coral swearing-in ensemble in 1997, first lady Laura Bush’s twinkling beaded inaugural gown in 2005, and senatorial spouse Cindy McCain’s golden full-skirted dress for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Just last month, he provided Amal Alamuddin’s gown for her wedding to George Clooney.

Formal gowns have long favored pale goddess-style silhouettes, and daywear often dwelled on the drab. But Valerie Steele, a historian at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, saw Mr. de la Renta’s couture influence in his bright combinations and full skirts and sleeves. “He’s a really good colorist,” and his clothes project “a European sense of decorum, a magnificence,” she said. “He has not stuck to one look; he’s evolved as fashion has evolved.”

Mr. de la Renta told The Washington Post in 2001: “When I started designing clothes for women in the ’60s, my typical customer got dressed in a suit and had lunch with friends. Today she’s on the list of endangered species.”

Many of today’s customers, even the ones with packed social calendars, now wake up in the morning and head to an office. Mr. de la Renta, through his well-cut pantsuits and jackets, goes along with them.

Oscar Aristides Renta Fiallo was born in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on July 22, 1932. His father, who had come from Puerto Rico, owned an insurance business and expected his only son to follow him into the family trade. But his mother and six sisters lavished the boy with attention, and the family priest, a Spaniard, encouraged his aesthetic interests and bought him a set of paints. Against his father’s inclination, Mr. de la Renta enrolled in art school.

After his mother’s death, the 18-year-old Mr. de la Renta embarked on a European ad­ven­ture that began in the salons of Madrid, where he had introductions. Though interested in abstract painting, he sketched a gown that caught the eye of the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Spain, John Lodge. She commissioned a gown for their debutante daughter, Beatrice, who wore it on the cover of Life magazine.

Mr. de la Renta set aside his brushes and proceeded to fashion design jobs at Balenciaga and Lanvin-Castillo, first in Madrid, then in Paris. At night, he danced at Regine’s, among young Parisian swells such as actress Catherine Deneuve and director Roger Vadim.

At a runway show, he met Françoise de Langlade, the fashion editor of French Vogue, 12 years his senior and with far more tastemaking influence than the suave newcomer. The two began a relationship after he moved in 1963 to New York, where he set about to meet Elizabeth Arden, the clothing and cosmetics empress. He surmised later that, for all his attempts to dazzle Arden with letters and designs, she probably hired him to steal away talent from his boss, Antonio Castillo, who had long ago left her employ.

As Mr. de la Renta was launching his own line, de Langlade joined him in the United States. Later, as a married couple, the two opened their exotic and warm apartment and Connecticut country house to uptowners and creative professionals, with Mr. de la Renta honing his skills at entertaining and decorating.

As he and Françoise appeared in society pages and luxury magazines, his business took off, reinforcing that a designer could project an entire lifestyle that he inhabited. Because of the public persona that he and a few peers were developing, retail executives made an unusual business decision for that age: to leave the designer’s label in the garment instead of the store’s alone. American shopping was never the same.

In 1972, Mr. de la Renta built a grand vacation house in his native country, and even as his international status rose, he knew that acceptance was complicated. In December 1974, the de la Rentas attended their first White House state dinner, in honor of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

In a 2002 interview for an authorized biography, Mr. de la Renta recalled getting ready at the Watergate Hotel. “When we were dressing, I put my arm in my shirt and it wouldn’t go in! The maid had packed Françoise’s tuxedo shirt instead of mine,” he said.

Mr. de la Renta ran to the only Watergate shop still open at 7 p.m. and bought the only option: a white shirt with ruffles edged in black. “It was my worst nightmare come true!” he said in the biography. “You know, I really admire people who wear colored shirts, shirts with flowers on them — but I am always afraid that if I do, someone will say, ‘Sorry, the Latin band goes in the other door.’ ”

Mr. de la Renta’s camera-ready gowns were favored by his tall and tasteful friends such as Kissinger and Pat Buckley, the socialite wife of conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. Vogue in the early 1980s was dressing its youthful cover subjects (Brooke Shields, Kim Alexis, Sheila Johnson) in de la Renta. But he didn’t work only for the elites — in 1980, he redesigned the Boy Scout uniform.

Amid his growing fortunes was a personal tragedy. In 1983, Françoise died of breast cancer. A year later, Mr. de la Renta was moved by the story of an abandoned infant being cared for at the orphanage he supported in the Dominican Republic. He adopted the boy, Moises.

In 1989, Mr. de la Renta married Annette Reed, an heiress and widow with three children. Besides his wife, survivors include Moises and three stepchildren.

Nancy Reagan included Mr. de la Renta among her preferred designers, along with James Galanos and Bill Blass. Her mission to bring glamour back to the White House made Mr. de la Renta, known for gentlemanly manners, a natural confidant to a first lady.

He touted her as a “model-size” political wife who “knew what looked good on her and had a true sense of fashion.” She rewarded him with many invitations to the White House.

Years later, Mr. de la Renta persuaded Clinton to put aside her mostly safe wardrobe in favor of dramatic pastels.

An early signature look was the pale-blue suit she wore at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Then when word leaked out that Clinton had chosen Mr. de la Renta to design her wardrobe for her husband’s second inauguration, he would not dish before the event. “She wants to have some element of surprise,” the designer told The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan in January 1997. Clinton lit up the parade route in a de la Renta coral suit and then dazzled the balls in a gold-lace gown, with matching cape.

Soon she posed for Annie Leibovitz in the Red Room in a black velvet de la Renta dress for the December 1998 cover of Vogue, the first president’s wife to do so. In their post-presidency years, both Clintons, now New Yorkers, grew personally closer to the de la Rentas.

Laura Bush became a de la Renta devotee after her husband was elected president. She wore some of his clothes at her own Vogue session with Leibovitz. “After the photo shoot, we called for a look book,” Laura Bush recalled in an interview with The Post. “I went to his studio and of course . . . like all women, I was immediately in love with Oscar.”

For her husband’s 2005 swearing-in, Bush wore a winter white coat and suit by Mr. de la Renta, and the ice-blue tulle gown she wore that night remains her favorite by him.

Mr. de la Renta’s clothes became a staple of Bush women’s wardrobes; he designed first daughter Jenna’s wedding gown, as well as Laura Bush’s turquoise mother-of-the-bride dress.

“What I will miss so much about Oscar is that confidence he gave me,” Laura Bush said. “He had a wonderful talent — for being able to see what looks best on women, what shapes make women look their best and what colors are the most flattering.”

Mr. de la Renta was one of a very few American designers who drew the eye of an international clientele that favored the haute-couture houses of Europe. As a sign of his social smarts, he charmed those clients — Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Marella Agnelli, Babe Paley — as well as his fellow couturiers — Yves Saint Laurent, Blass, Valentino. Plus, he has attracted red-carpet icons-in-the-making: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Hudson, Lea Michele.

His prices reflect his stature: $5,845 for a ruffled one-shoulder crepe gown, $6,235 for a feather-trimmed jersey gown, $13,990 for an embroidered floral cloque gown.

As much as the influential set shaped his reputation, he insisted that the customer was always right. “Unfortunately, success is not what fashion editors like: That is something that comes when an anonymous woman in the street wants to wear it,” he said in the biography.

Throughout his life, he emanated a joie de vivre that made him seem as if he had it all. “If my life were to end now, I would have no regrets,” he said on his 40th birthday, as recounted in “The Fashion Makers,” a 1978 survey of U.S. designers. “I’ve lived every day to the fullest, and I’ve had a marvelous time. I’ve tried to be nice to the people I care about, and ignore the ones I don’t. I enjoy what I’ve done.”

jura.koncius@washpost.com

Martel is a former Washington Post staff writer.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/oscar-de-la-renta-fashion-designer-dies-at-82/2014/10/20/da5b88e4-72cf-11e1-ab86-1f92b6642693_story.html

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer, dies at 82

Oscar de la Renta, the Dominican-born fashion designer who reshaped the public image of first ladies, society muses and red-carpet regulars with grand evening wear that celebrated Latin sensuality, European refinement and American versatility, died Oct. 20 at his home in Kent, Conn. He was 82.

A family representative answering the phone at his home confirmed the death but did not provide further details. He revealed in 2011 that he had a bout with cancer earlier that year.

An astute businessman with an eye for vibrant color, Mr. de la Renta polished his eponymous label into a global empire that sold perfume, accessories, furniture and, above all, elegant clothing.

During a half-century of prominence on New York’s fashion nexus — Seventh Avenue — he asserted himself as a creative entrepreneur and vivacious society player who gained access to the nation’s most esteemed women and an invitation to define how the public saw them.

He was the first Latino to be accepted into the exclusive ranks of Parisian fashion houses. Later as a U.S. citizen, he became the first American to design for a French couture house. All the while, Mr. de la Renta was building a brand that, in exclusive circles and in small-town bridal salons alike, was known by one word: Oscar.

His exuberant frocks won the trust of customers and he set formal standards for women of taste. He gave them — no matter their age or shape — the confidence to be eye-catching. “I love all his clothes because of his sense of color,” Nancy Kissinger, wife of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, said in a 2002 pictorial biography of the designer. “There’s something very staggering about the combinations he chooses.”

Mr. de la Renta, whose dresses cost many thousands of dollars, was the master of entrance-making looks. Manhattan doyennes, Hollywood stars and Washington figures sought out his label. He designed then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s coral swearing-in ensemble in 1997, first lady Laura Bush’s twinkling beaded inaugural gown in 2005, and senatorial spouse Cindy McCain’s golden full-skirted dress for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Just last month, he provided Amal Alamuddin’s gown for her wedding to George Clooney.

Formal gowns have long favored pale goddess-style silhouettes, and daywear often dwelled on the drab. But Valerie Steele, a historian at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, saw Mr. de la Renta’s couture influence in his bright combinations and full skirts and sleeves. “He’s a really good colorist,” and his clothes project “a European sense of decorum, a magnificence,” she said. “He has not stuck to one look; he’s evolved as fashion has evolved.”

Mr. de la Renta told The Washington Post in 2001: “When I started designing clothes for women in the ’60s, my typical customer got dressed in a suit and had lunch with friends. Today she’s on the list of endangered species.”

Many of today’s customers, even the ones with packed social calendars, now wake up in the morning and head to an office. Mr. de la Renta, through his well-cut pantsuits and jackets, goes along with them.

Oscar Aristides Renta Fiallo was born in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on July 22, 1932. His father, who had come from Puerto Rico, owned an insurance business and expected his only son to follow him into the family trade. But his mother and six sisters lavished the boy with attention, and the family priest, a Spaniard, encouraged his aesthetic interests and bought him a set of paints. Against his father’s inclination, Mr. de la Renta enrolled in art school.

After his mother’s death, the 18-year-old Mr. de la Renta embarked on a European ad­ven­ture that began in the salons of Madrid, where he had introductions. Though interested in abstract painting, he sketched a gown that caught the eye of the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Spain, John Lodge. She commissioned a gown for their debutante daughter, Beatrice, who wore it on the cover of Life magazine.

Mr. de la Renta set aside his brushes and proceeded to fashion design jobs at Balenciaga and Lanvin-Castillo, first in Madrid, then in Paris. At night, he danced at Regine’s, among young Parisian swells such as actress Catherine Deneuve and director Roger Vadim.

At a runway show, he met Françoise de Langlade, the fashion editor of French Vogue, 12 years his senior and with far more tastemaking influence than the suave newcomer. The two began a relationship after he moved in 1963 to New York, where he set about to meet Elizabeth Arden, the clothing and cosmetics empress. He surmised later that, for all his attempts to dazzle Arden with letters and designs, she probably hired him to steal away talent from his boss, Antonio Castillo, who had long ago left her employ.

As Mr. de la Renta was launching his own line, de Langlade joined him in the United States. Later, as a married couple, the two opened their exotic and warm apartment and Connecticut country house to uptowners and creative professionals, with Mr. de la Renta honing his skills at entertaining and decorating.

As he and Françoise appeared in society pages and luxury magazines, his business took off, reinforcing that a designer could project an entire lifestyle that he inhabited. Because of the public persona that he and a few peers were developing, retail executives made an unusual business decision for that age: to leave the designer’s label in the garment instead of the store’s alone. American shopping was never the same.

In 1972, Mr. de la Renta built a grand vacation house in his native country, and even as his international status rose, he knew that acceptance was complicated. In December 1974, the de la Rentas attended their first White House state dinner, in honor of West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

In a 2002 interview for an authorized biography, Mr. de la Renta recalled getting ready at the Watergate Hotel. “When we were dressing, I put my arm in my shirt and it wouldn’t go in! The maid had packed Françoise’s tuxedo shirt instead of mine,” he said.

Mr. de la Renta ran to the only Watergate shop still open at 7 p.m. and bought the only option: a white shirt with ruffles edged in black. “It was my worst nightmare come true!” he said in the biography. “You know, I really admire people who wear colored shirts, shirts with flowers on them — but I am always afraid that if I do, someone will say, ‘Sorry, the Latin band goes in the other door.’ ”

Mr. de la Renta’s camera-ready gowns were favored by his tall and tasteful friends such as Kissinger and Pat Buckley, the socialite wife of conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. Vogue in the early 1980s was dressing its youthful cover subjects (Brooke Shields, Kim Alexis, Sheila Johnson) in de la Renta. But he didn’t work only for the elites — in 1980, he redesigned the Boy Scout uniform.

Amid his growing fortunes was a personal tragedy. In 1983, Françoise died of breast cancer. A year later, Mr. de la Renta was moved by the story of an abandoned infant being cared for at the orphanage he supported in the Dominican Republic. He adopted the boy, Moises.

In 1989, Mr. de la Renta married Annette Reed, an heiress and widow with three children. Besides his wife, survivors include Moises and three stepchildren.

Nancy Reagan included Mr. de la Renta among her preferred designers, along with James Galanos and Bill Blass. Her mission to bring glamour back to the White House made Mr. de la Renta, known for gentlemanly manners, a natural confidant to a first lady.

He touted her as a “model-size” political wife who “knew what looked good on her and had a true sense of fashion.” She rewarded him with many invitations to the White House.

Years later, Mr. de la Renta persuaded Clinton to put aside her mostly safe wardrobe in favor of dramatic pastels.

An early signature look was the pale-blue suit she wore at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Then when word leaked out that Clinton had chosen Mr. de la Renta to design her wardrobe for her husband’s second inauguration, he would not dish before the event. “She wants to have some element of surprise,” the designer told The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan in January 1997. Clinton lit up the parade route in a de la Renta coral suit and then dazzled the balls in a gold-lace gown, with matching cape.

Soon she posed for Annie Leibovitz in the Red Room in a black velvet de la Renta dress for the December 1998 cover of Vogue, the first president’s wife to do so. In their post-presidency years, both Clintons, now New Yorkers, grew personally closer to the de la Rentas.

Laura Bush became a de la Renta devotee after her husband was elected president. She wore some of his clothes at her own Vogue session with Leibovitz. “After the photo shoot, we called for a look book,” Laura Bush recalled in an interview with The Post. “I went to his studio and of course . . . like all women, I was immediately in love with Oscar.”

For her husband’s 2005 swearing-in, Bush wore a winter white coat and suit by Mr. de la Renta, and the ice-blue tulle gown she wore that night remains her favorite by him.

Mr. de la Renta’s clothes became a staple of Bush women’s wardrobes; he designed first daughter Jenna’s wedding gown, as well as Laura Bush’s turquoise mother-of-the-bride dress.

“What I will miss so much about Oscar is that confidence he gave me,” Laura Bush said. “He had a wonderful talent — for being able to see what looks best on women, what shapes make women look their best and what colors are the most flattering.”

Mr. de la Renta was one of a very few American designers who drew the eye of an international clientele that favored the haute-couture houses of Europe. As a sign of his social smarts, he charmed those clients — Marie-Helene de Rothschild, Marella Agnelli, Babe Paley — as well as his fellow couturiers — Yves Saint Laurent, Blass, Valentino. Plus, he has attracted red-carpet icons-in-the-making: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Hudson, Lea Michele.

His prices reflect his stature: $5,845 for a ruffled one-shoulder crepe gown, $6,235 for a feather-trimmed jersey gown, $13,990 for an embroidered floral cloque gown.

As much as the influential set shaped his reputation, he insisted that the customer was always right. “Unfortunately, success is not what fashion editors like: That is something that comes when an anonymous woman in the street wants to wear it,” he said in the biography.

Throughout his life, he emanated a joie de vivre that made him seem as if he had it all. “If my life were to end now, I would have no regrets,” he said on his 40th birthday, as recounted in “The Fashion Makers,” a 1978 survey of U.S. designers. “I’ve lived every day to the fullest, and I’ve had a marvelous time. I’ve tried to be nice to the people I care about, and ignore the ones I don’t. I enjoy what I’ve done.”

jura.koncius@washpost.com

Martel is a former Washington Post staff writer.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/oscar-de-la-renta-fashion-designer-dies-at-82/2014/10/20/da5b88e4-72cf-11e1-ab86-1f92b6642693_story.html

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

PHOTO: Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta attends the official opening of The Costume Institutes new Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 5, 2014, in New York.

Iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died, a family member told ABC News.
He was 82.

De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid. It was there he developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga, who became his mentor, and then, 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.”

PHOTO: Designer Oscar De La Renta smiles with model Karlie Kloss and another model after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, Feb. 12, 2013.

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

He also launched a successful bridal line, and most recently, designed Amal 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.”

The fashion designer is survived by his wife, Annette, and a son, Moises, as well as stepchildren and step-grandchildren.

De la Renta, who won a bevy 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, always appreciated every moment of his high-profile life.

“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. 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.”

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oscar-de-la-renta-iconic-fashion-designer-dies/story?id=26332287

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

PHOTO: Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta attends the official opening of The Costume Institutes new Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 5, 2014, in New York.

Iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died, a family member told ABC News.
He was 82.

De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid. It was there he developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga, who became his mentor, and then, 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.”

PHOTO: Designer Oscar De La Renta smiles with model Karlie Kloss and another model after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, Feb. 12, 2013.

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

He also launched a successful bridal line, and most recently, designed Amal 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.”

The fashion designer is survived by his wife, Annette, and a son, Moises, as well as stepchildren and step-grandchildren.

De la Renta, who won a bevy 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, always appreciated every moment of his high-profile life.

“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. 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.”

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oscar-de-la-renta-iconic-fashion-designer-dies/story?id=26332287

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

PHOTO: Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta attends the official opening of The Costume Institutes new Anna Wintour Costume Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 5, 2014, in New York.

Iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died, a family member told ABC News.
He was 82.

De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid. It was there he developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga, who became his mentor, and then, 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.”

PHOTO: Designer Oscar De La Renta smiles with model Karlie Kloss and another model after presenting his Autumn/Winter 2013 collection during New York Fashion Week, Feb. 12, 2013.

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

He also launched a successful bridal line, and most recently, designed Amal 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.”

The fashion designer is survived by his wife, Annette, and a son, Moises, as well as stepchildren and step-grandchildren.

De la Renta, who won a bevy 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, always appreciated every moment of his high-profile life.

“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. 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.”

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oscar-de-la-renta-iconic-fashion-designer-dies/story?id=26332287

Stars Mourn the Death of Fashion Icon Oscar de la Renta

PHOTO: Oscar De La Renta and Naomi Campbell during Fall Fashion Week - Oscar De La Renta Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York, April 8, 1994.

Celebrities of all stripes were quick to acknowledge the legacy of iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who died Monday after battling cancer for almost a decade. He was 82.

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Oscar de la Renta,” Hillary and Bill Clinton said in a joint statement on their website.

“His singular talent and exquisite taste elevated American fashion, and his warmth and friendship will be missed by our family and all whose lives he touched in his extraordinary journey.”
The statement continued, “We will always be grateful to Oscar for the love he showed us, and for sharing his talent on some of the most important occasions of our lives.”

The Clintons were not the only elite to speak out about the brilliance of de la Renta.

Legendary anchor Barbara Walters said, “Oscar de la Renta was not just a creative and original artist he was also a great business man. He was most of all one of the wisest, kindest, and funniest friends you can have. All of us who had the pleasure of knowing him, have aching hearts today. Our thoughts are with his beloved Annette.”

Taylor Swift, Nicky Hilton and Ivanka Trump also took to social media to share their condolences.

“My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.” – Taylor Swift

My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:03pm PDT

“The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.” – Karlie Kloss

The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.

A photo posted by @karliekloss on Oct 10, 2014 at 8:08pm PDT

“Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR” – Coco Rocha

Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR

A photo posted by Coco Rocha (@cocorocha) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:45pm PDT

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/stars-mourn-death-fashion-icon-oscar-de-la/story?id=26341014

Stars Mourn the Death of Fashion Icon Oscar de la Renta

PHOTO: Oscar De La Renta and Naomi Campbell during Fall Fashion Week - Oscar De La Renta Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York, April 8, 1994.

Celebrities of all stripes were quick to acknowledge the legacy of iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who died Monday after battling cancer for almost a decade. He was 82.

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Oscar de la Renta,” Hillary and Bill Clinton said in a joint statement on their website.

“His singular talent and exquisite taste elevated American fashion, and his warmth and friendship will be missed by our family and all whose lives he touched in his extraordinary journey.”
The statement continued, “We will always be grateful to Oscar for the love he showed us, and for sharing his talent on some of the most important occasions of our lives.”

The Clintons were not the only elite to speak out about the brilliance of de la Renta.

Legendary anchor Barbara Walters said, “Oscar de la Renta was not just a creative and original artist he was also a great business man. He was most of all one of the wisest, kindest, and funniest friends you can have. All of us who had the pleasure of knowing him, have aching hearts today. Our thoughts are with his beloved Annette.”

Taylor Swift, Nicky Hilton and Ivanka Trump also took to social media to share their condolences.

“My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.” – Taylor Swift

My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:03pm PDT

“The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.” – Karlie Kloss

The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.

A photo posted by @karliekloss on Oct 10, 2014 at 8:08pm PDT

“Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR” – Coco Rocha

Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR

A photo posted by Coco Rocha (@cocorocha) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:45pm PDT

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/stars-mourn-death-fashion-icon-oscar-de-la/story?id=26341014

Stars Mourn the Death of Fashion Icon Oscar de la Renta

PHOTO: Oscar De La Renta and Naomi Campbell during Fall Fashion Week - Oscar De La Renta Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York, April 8, 1994.

Celebrities of all stripes were quick to acknowledge the legacy of iconic fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who died Monday after battling cancer for almost a decade. He was 82.

Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Oscar de la Renta,” Hillary and Bill Clinton said in a joint statement on their website.

“His singular talent and exquisite taste elevated American fashion, and his warmth and friendship will be missed by our family and all whose lives he touched in his extraordinary journey.”
The statement continued, “We will always be grateful to Oscar for the love he showed us, and for sharing his talent on some of the most important occasions of our lives.”

The Clintons were not the only elite to speak out about the brilliance of de la Renta.

Legendary anchor Barbara Walters said, “Oscar de la Renta was not just a creative and original artist he was also a great business man. He was most of all one of the wisest, kindest, and funniest friends you can have. All of us who had the pleasure of knowing him, have aching hearts today. Our thoughts are with his beloved Annette.”

Taylor Swift, Nicky Hilton and Ivanka Trump also took to social media to share their condolences.

“My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.” – Taylor Swift

My all-time favorite designer has passed away. Oscar, it was an honor to wear your creations and to know you. In loving memory.

A photo posted by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:03pm PDT

“The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.” – Karlie Kloss

The world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met. Thank you for helping me become the woman I am today and for always inspiring me to be better. There simply is no one else like you.

A photo posted by @karliekloss on Oct 10, 2014 at 8:08pm PDT

“Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR” – Coco Rocha

Today fashion lost one of the greatest couturiers of the last century. I’m forever grateful to have had the chance to wear his creations and I’ll always remember Mr. De La Renta as a gentleman and a class act. Oscar was never afraid to speak his mind or share his point of view – whether that be on the runway or on the written page. He was a pillar of New York fashion and will be sorely missed. #OscardelaRenta #ODLR

A photo posted by Coco Rocha (@cocorocha) on Oct 10, 2014 at 7:45pm PDT

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/stars-mourn-death-fashion-icon-oscar-de-la/story?id=26341014

New Jersey Fashion Week held at the Bridgewater Marriott – The Star

By Kathleen Turpin

New Jersey Fashion Week doors opened at the Bridgewater Marriott at 2 p.m. on Oct 12 with hundreds of guests enjoying a day of fashion, fun and networking. NJFW provided attendees with the opportunity to”sip a signature cocktail, mingle with models and visit media personalities”. LEXUS of Bridgewater and NJFW created a special ‘Lexus Lounge’ where attendees could sit and chat, while greeting celebrities and models. Guests also enjoyed the offerings and displays from participating brands and companies.

NJFW founder Donnella Tilery, consultant and NYC Membership Committee Chair for Fashion Group International, remarked that “NJFW is the result of a collaborative effort by local companies, designers, models, stylists and fashion consultants who believe that New Jersey has a fashion presence that deserves recognition in the fashion industry”. As part of NJFW, Lexus of Bridgewater hosted a VIP party on Saturday, October 11th and acted as the sponsor of the runway show, on Sunday, October 12th.

The runway Show was held from 6 to 8 p.m. with fashion presentations by Victoria Wong, Robert Greco and the Bloomingdales collections from the Bridgewater Commons Mall. Bloomingdales presented a special preview of their fall/winter collection with the fashion selections chosen by Shantonia Amee, Celebrity Stylist and Wardrobe Consultant.

A highlight of the runway show, were the youth designers and models from the ‘Crayola Experience’. This annual, youth (ages 7 – 16), runway show was held in July; sponsored by Crayola and NJFW. According to Donnella, ‘the Crayola Experience’ is a fashion show for kid designers and models that is devoted to designs that are created by kids for kids”. Dajahnae Saddler, a 4th grader at William A. Carter in Middletown, NJ, created two designs that she and youth model, Nevaeh Jolie, an 8th grader at Woodbridge Middle School, NJ, displayed at the fashion show. Lia Edlin Miller, a 3rd grader at Dickinson Avenue school in Northport, NY, modeled her fashion design work.

A special, featured runway presentation, included celebrities and adult cancer survivors. Donnella and her NJFW team wanted to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by highlighting cancer survivors who volunteered to be part of the fashion show. Bloomingdale’s “dressed the men and women cancer survivors who walked the runway” and modeled the latest in fashion designs and accessories.

Attendees were treated to the latest trends by fashion designers Victoria Wong and Robert Greco. Victoria Wong is an “emerging design talent with Chinese roots that influence her collection of hand-painted separates for men and women. The urban appeal make for a one of a kind ‘street chic’ collection”. Robert Greco is “known for his custom gowns and dresses. He is a favorite regional designer with a strong following out of his Montclair store and showroom”. During the runway show, his models added drama and flair to his fashion statements.

Article source: http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/index.ssf/2014/10/new_jersey_fashion_week_held_at_the_bridgewater_marriot.html