I’m a very restless person. I’m always doing something. The creative process never stops. – Oscar de la Renta
The fashion world is less a legendary talent today, with news that iconic designer Oscar de la Renta has passed away. Famed for his romantic couture and feminine ready-to-wear, his classically chic aesthetic won him countless accolades and fans as wide reaching from young Hollywood actresses, editors and models, to presidential first ladies.
Beginning his career in Spain as an apprentice to renowned couturier, and creator of the iconic fashion house, Cristóbal Balenciaga, de la Renta went on to create for Lanvin and Balmain, but it was through his own label, which he launched in 1965, did his talent truly shine.
The first of many great triumphs for the designer came early in his career, with fashion icon Jacqueline Kennedy favouring his designs throughout the 1960’s. She wasn’t the only first lady to turn to him for their public appearances, he also dressed Nancy Reagan in the 1980s, designed the inauguration gowns for Hillary Clinton in 1997 and Laura Bush in 2005, and after controversially calling her out for wearing international designers, finally dressed Michelle Obama earlier this month.
It wasn’t just the political crowd that loved him. Stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Oprah Winfrey, Anna Wintour, and most recently, Amal Clooney all wore Oscar when they needed to make an impact on the red carpet (or, in Amal’s case, her wedding day).
Despite being in the industry for over 50 years, de la Renta was always looking to continuously improve his craft. “Now is the time most exciting time in fashion. Women are controlling their destiny now, the consumer is more knowledgeable, and I have to be better every single day.” he said when asked about the current state of the fashion world.
Maybe just as famous as his designs, was his no-nonsense approach to life – even when it came to his own mortality. Last year at a New York City’s 92Y “Fashion Talks” event he spoke of his cancer (he was diagnosed in 2006) saying, “Yes, I had cancer. Right now, I am totally clean. The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”
Next red carpet season will be a little less exciting, and certainly not as creative with the loss of his talent. We’ll miss you, Oscar.
See our gallery above for some of our favourite Oscar moments.