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The fashion world mourns Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta at the finale of his Spring 2015 Ready-to-Wear show in September.
Photo: Getty Images

Designer succumbs to cancer at the age of 82

Oscar de la Renta is one of the great fashion designers of our time, he dressed all well-known stars and First Ladies. Now the legendary designer died at the age of 82 years.

Oscar de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in 1932. Already at the age of 17 he went to Madrid to study art at the Academy of San Fernando, incidentally he drew first fashion sketches. Thanks to his influential family, the US ambassador to Spain saw his designs and had a dress made for his daughter, Beatrice Cabot Lodge, who wore it on her debutante ball. A photo of it landed on the cover of the Life Magazine 1956. Shortly thereafter, De la Renta went to Cristóbal Balenciaga apprenticeship. Later he became a couture assistant under Antonio Castillo at Lanvin in Paris.

In his later ready-to-wear designs, this couture influence was always visible. "I do not know how to design leisurewear, " said Oscar de la Renta in an interview in 2005 with WWD. His look: classically elegant, but also overly feminine. His corsets with cascades of flounces and ruffles of satin and silk are among his trademarks.

In 1963 Oscar de la Renta went to New York to start his own label two years later. From 1993, the designer for nine years artistic director of the Paris couture house Pierre Balmain. In September 2014 Oscar de la Renta showed his last collection in Paris.

Oscar de la Renta was one of America's most successful fashion designers. And one of the few who will be remembered for a long time after his death. Especially his evening gowns are legendary, part of the Academy Awards like the little golden male himself. Show greats like Liza Minnelli or Faye Dunaway loved her as much as America's First Ladies, including Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and, just earlier this month, Michelle Obama .

After a long period of cancer Oscar de la Renta died on the evening of October 20 at his home in Kent, Conneticut. His fashion will continue to live. Just last week, the label announced that it had committed Peter Copping as the new Creative Director. His first collection for the brand will be shown during New York Fashion Week in February.