Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died at age 82, confirmed his wife, Annette de la Renta, Monday night. He had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006.
De la Renta worked in the fashion industry for more than 50 years, and gained notoriety in the 1960s after dressing Jacqueline Kennedy. He dressed every First Lady in the U.S. since, and was a bipartisan favorite among Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, while Michelle Obama recently showed off one of his dresses at a White House event.
His eponymous fashion house continues to dress notable stars to this day, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner and Lea Michele. Most recently, he dressed Amal Alamuddin for her wedding with George Clooney.
#AmalAlamuddin’s final wedding dress fitting with #OscardelaRenta. Find out more on Vogue.com. Photographed by #AnnieLeibovitz, Vogue, October 2014.
Born in 1932 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, de la Renta left when he was 18 to study in Spain. In 1957, he got his first gig sketching with Cristóbal Balenciaga in 1957.
Later, he moved to Paris to join Antonio del Castillo as an assistant at Lanvin. In 1963, he moved to New York and was quickly offered a designing Elizabeth Arden’s made-to-order clothing in her boutique.
Two years later, he launched his own fashion house, designing his own ready-to-wear collections. On top of it all, he designed for the French fashion brand Balmain from 1993-2002.
Vogue described de la Renta as “a man who for five-plus decades created exquisite clothes which have majestically sailed between the Old and New Worlds; European haute couture savoir faire and the beautifully dressed can-do optimism of the United States.”
He has long been considering a line of succession for his fashion house and announced Peter Copping would be the next creative director for the house on Oct. 13.
In 1967, he married Françoise de Langlade, an editor-in-chief for French Vogue who died in 1983. He is survived by his wife Annette, the New York philanthropist whom he married in 1989 at his home in La Romana, the Dominican Republic.
De la Renta has five stepchildren from both his marriages, including step-daugther Eliza Reed-Bolen, who us vice president of licensing at Oscar de la Renta Ltd., while her husband, Alex Bolen, works as Chief Executive Officer. He is also survived by his adopted son, Moises de la Renta.