Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta
Óscar de la Renta at the Hotel Ritz, Madrid, during a visit to Spain in 2008
Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo
22 July 1932
|Died||20 October 2014 (aged 82)|
Kent, Connecticut, U.S.
|Citizenship|| United States|
|Education||Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando|
|Oscar de la Renta|
(m. 1967; died 1983)
|Children||Moisés de la Renta|
|Relatives||Luis Álvarez Renta (nephew)|
Fabio Fiallo (uncle)
Luis Arístides Fiallo (uncle)
Viriato Fiallo (cousin)
Larimar Fiallo (first cousin-twice removed)
José Ortíz de la Renta (great-great-grandfather)
|Awards||CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, Order of Cristóbal Colón|
Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo (22 July 1932 – 20 October 2014), known professionally as Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, he was trained by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Antonio del Castillo. De la Renta became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. He worked for Lanvin and Balmain. His eponymous fashion house has boutiques around the world including in Harrods of London and Madison Avenue in New York.
De la Renta, the youngest of seven children and the only boy in his family, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to a Dominican mother, Carmen María Antonia Fiallo, and a Puerto Rican father, Óscar Avelino De La Renta, owner of an insurance company. The Fiallos, De la Renta's mother's family, were so embedded in Dominican society that they could count poets, scholars, and businessmen, as well as top army brass among their members. Their origin in the island can be traced back to the foundation of San Carlos de Tenerife in 1685 by Canarian settlers.
A maternal uncle, Luis Arístides Fiallo Cabral, was a doctor, lawyer, and architect, who received every degree the University of Santo Domingo could offer. Another maternal uncle, Fabio Fiallo, was a diplomat and poet. On his father's side, De la Renta's great-great grandfather José Ortíz de la Renta was the first mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico, elected by popular vote and who had the distinction of serving as mayor eight times, the most ever for the city.
At the age of 18, he went to study painting in Spain at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. For extra money, he drew clothes for newspapers and fashion houses. After Francesca Lodge, the wife of John Davis Lodge, the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, saw some of his dress sketches, she commissioned de la Renta to design a gown for her daughter. The dress appeared on the cover of Life magazine that fall. He quickly became interested in the world of fashion design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain's most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. He considered Cristóbal Balenciaga his mentor. In 1961, de la Renta left Spain to join Antonio del Castillo as a couture assistant at Lanvin in Paris.
In 1963, de la Renta turned to Diana Vreeland, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, for advice, saying that what he really wanted was to "get into ready to wear, because that's where the money is". Vreeland replied, "Then go to Arden because you will make your reputation faster. She is not a designer, so she will promote you. At the other place, you will always be eclipsed by the name of Dior." De la Renta proceeded to work for Arden for two years in New York City before he went to work for Jane Derby, an American fashion house. When Derby died in August 1965, de la Renta took over the label.
From 1993 to 2002, de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain, becoming the first Dominican to design for a French couture house. In 2006, the Oscar de la Renta label diversified into bridal wear.
De la Renta's designs have been worn by a diverse group of distinguished women and celebrities. De la Renta's brand saw international wholesale growth beginning in 2003, under the direction of CEO Alex Bolen, from five to seventy-five locations. De la Renta's ready-to-wear designs are available in his retail stores, online, and with select wholesale partners worldwide.
In 2014, the George W. Bush Presidential Center hosted an exhibit entitled "Oscar de la Renta: Five Decades of Style" which shared the designer's creations for Mrs. Bush and America's First Ladies.
In 1977, de la Renta launched his fragrance, OSCAR, followed by an accessories line in 2001 and a homewares line in 2002. The new business venture included 100 home furnishings for Century Furniture featuring dining tables, upholstered chairs, and couches. In 2004, he added a less expensive line of clothing called O Oscar. De la Renta said he wanted to attract new customers whom he could not reach before.
Awards, honors, and philanthropic endeavors
De la Renta's talents received continual international recognition. Among them, he received the Council of Fashion Designers Designer of the Year Award in 2000 and in 2007 (tied with Proenza Schouler). In February 1990, he was honored with the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award. King Juan Carlos of Spain bestowed de la Renta with two awards, the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes and the La Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil. He was recognized by the French government with the Légion d'honneur as a Commandeur.
The Dominican Republic honored him with the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sánchez and Mella and the Order of Christopher Columbus. De la Renta founded the Casa del Niño orphanage in La Romana He contributed extensively in the construction of a much needed school near his home at the Punta Cana Resort and Club in Punta Cana.
De la Renta served as a board member of the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and WNET. He served on the boards of several charitable institutions such as New Yorkers for Children, the America's Society. He was chairman of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute. He received an honorary degree from Hamilton College (New York) on 26 May 2013.
In February 2014, Oscar de la Renta recreated his entire Spring presentation, Designed for A Cure 2014 collection, to raise money for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
In 1991, de la Renta was the recipient of the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. In 2014, de la Renta was the recipient of the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence. In 2017, de la Renta was honored by the United States Postal Service with an eleven stamp series, featuring a black and white photo of him and ten details from his fashion designs. 
In 1966, de la Renta became the third husband of Françoise de Langlade (1921–1983), an editor-in-chief of French Vogue who once worked for the fashion house of Elsa Schiaparelli. They were married until she died of cancer in 1983. After her death, de la Renta adopted a boy from the Dominican Republic and named him Moisés.
In 1990, the designer married Annette Engelhard (born 1939), daughter of Fritz Mannheimer and his wife Jane née Reiss, and adoptive daughter of her mother's second husband, Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. De la Renta had stepchildren from both marriages. His son-in-law Alex Bolen currently operates as Chief Executive Officer, and stepdaughter Eliza Bolen serves as Vice President of Licensing at Oscar de la Renta, LLC.
De la Renta was regarded as an unofficial ambassador of the Dominican Republic, his home country, and held a diplomatic passport. He had homes there in Casa de Campo and Punta Cana, in addition to his residence in Kent, Connecticut.
De la Renta was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. A year later at the CFDA "Fashion Talks" event, Executive Director Fern Mallis called him "The Sultan of Suave". At that event, he spoke of his cancer, 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.
- Horyn, Cathy; Nemy, Enid (20 October 2014). "Oscar de la Renta, Who Clothed Stars and Became One, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Muere el diseñador de moda Oscar de la Renta". elmundo.es. Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
- Mower, Sarah (2002). Oscar: The Style, Inspiration and Life of Oscar De La Renta. New York: Assouline. p. 11.
- Espinal Hernández, Edwin Rafael (1 November 2013). "Oscar de la Renta: entorno genealógico". Instituto Dominicano de Genealogía (in Spanish). Santo Domingo: Hoy. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Mower, Sarah (2002). Oscar: The Style, Inspiration and Life of Oscar De La Renta. New York: Assouline. p. 12.
- Mower, Sarah (2002). Oscar: The Style, Inspiration and Life of Oscar De La Renta. New York: Assouline.
- Norwich, William (10 February 2013). "Oscar de la Renta on Taking in Galliano, the Women He's Known and Loved, and Why He Once Tried to Hit Cecil Beaton". New York. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Amsden, David (21 May 2005). "Dynatsty". New York. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Ahmed, Saeed; Ford, Dana (20 October 2014). "Oscar de la Renta, legendary fashion designer, dies at 82". CNN. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Feitelberg, Rosemary (7 November 2013). "Oscar de la Renta Sits for Q&A at the Design Leadership Summit". WWD. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
- "Óscar de la Renta". Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1963". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Morris, Bernadine, "Diana Vreeland, Editor, Dies; Voice of Fashion for Decades", The New York Times, 23 August 1989, page A1
- "Óscar de la Renta 1965". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Kent University Museum Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine
- "Óscar de la Renta 1993". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Hyland, Véronique (20 October 2014). "Oscar de la Renta Loved Powerful Women". New York. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- "Óscar de la Renta 2006". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Business of Fashion 2009". Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
- "Óscar de la Renta 2004". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1977". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 2001". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 2002". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- >"Biography.com". Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 26 Sep 2013.
- "Tortuga Bay : Punta Cana, Dominican Republic : The Leading Hotels of the World". www.lhw.com. Archived from the original on 2017-05-13. Retrieved 2017-06-28.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1967". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1973". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1990". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Profile Archived 2016-04-13 at the Wayback Machine, VanityFair.com; accessed 20 October 2014.
- "Óscar de la Renta 1982". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Kleinman, Rebecca (19 February 2014). "Oscar de la Renta Takes Collection to Miami". WWD. Archived from the original on 21 March 2014. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
- Malle, Chloe. "Oscar de la Renta Receives Medal of Excellence at Carnegie Hall". Vogue. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Francoise de la Rente, 62, a Leader in Fashion Archived 2016-11-15 at the Wayback Machine from The New York Times 18 June 1983
- "Óscar de la Renta Today". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- Billionaire Magazine: "Oscar de la Renta: Hard Work and Good Fortune" Archived 2014-11-03 at the Wayback Machine by Norman Tan, 2 June 2014.
- "Iconic Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82". ABC. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- "Legendary designer Oscar de la Renta has died". USA Today. 20 October 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2017.
- "Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82". WJLA.com. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.