Blog All blogpostsRSS

Gentleman of Fashion: Oscar de la Renta

Celebrated this year with two monographic exhibitions, Oscar de la Renta was a world renowned fashion designer, whose life intertwined with the most successful stories of fashion history.

Evening dress designed by Oscar de la Renta set at SCAD FASH. Courtesy of SCAD FASH. All rights reserved.

Evening dresses designed by Oscar de la Renta, set at SCAD FASH. The exhibition is open until December 31st. SCAD FASH, all rights reserved.

Oscar de la Renta was born in 1932 in an aristocratic family of Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. He left the city at the age of 18 to move to Madrid, where he studied art at The Academy of San Fernando. It was when one of his gowns – that the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain commissioned him to design for her daughter – appeared on “Life” magazine, that the designer decided to focus himself on fashion.

Oscar de la Renta S/S 211 collection. Photo by Etienne Tordoir. Collection Catwalkpictures, all rights reserved.

Oscar de la Renta S/S 2011 collection. Photo by Etienne Tordoir. Collection Catwalkpictures, all rights reserved.

In his first formative years, de la Renta did an apprenticeship at Cristobal Balenciaga, the country’s most succesful couturier at the time. He then travelled to Paris to became assistant designer to Antonio Castillo at Lanvin, until when in 1963, mentored by Diana Vreeland, the then American Vogue editor, De la Renta moved to New York to work for Elizabeth Arden. Two years later, in 1965, he founded his own label.

His designs were influenced by his Dominican and Spanish heritage, and to exotics silhouettes he accustomed a personal use of colours and prints, which provided him an instant success. Among the great personalities he dressed during his long career as a designer, De la Renta is known for dressing every first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy. Also from 1993 to 2002, De la Renta designed the haute couture collections for Balmain, actually becoming the first American designer to be commissioned by a French haute couture house.

Tailleur designed by Oscar de la Renta for Balmain, 2001. Photo by Jean Tholance, all rights reserved.

Tailleur designed by Oscar de la Renta for Balmain, 2001. Photo by Jean Tholance, all rights reserved.

He died last year, on the 20th October, but he was immediately celebrated by the many institutions which loved his work and recognised him as one of the greatest American designers. Now on view there is an exhibition at SCAD FASH, in Atlanta, and next March will open the exhibition “Oscar de la Renta” at The Museum of Fine art of San Francisco.

Browse Europana Fashion collection to find the beautiful creations by Oscar de la Renta!

Leave a comment


− 4 = 3