Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta is a fashion designer who was born in Dominican Republic in 1932 to Puerto Rican father Óscar Avelino de la Renta and a Dominican mother Maria Antonia Fiallo. People from his mother’s family belonged to an array of prestigious and artistic fields. Moreover, de la Renta’s grandfather was the constitutional Ponce’s mayor.

When he turned eighteen, he left his hometown in order to gain education in Spain to study painting in Madrid at the Academy of San Fernando. Soon de la Renta became interested in fashion and began sketching his ideas for leading fashion houses in the state. These experiences earned him an opportunity to work with Cristóbal Balenciaga and considers him as a mentor. Afterwards, de la Renta joined Antonio Castillo at Lanvin in Paris as an assistant for couture designing.

In 1963, he turned to the Vogue‘s chief editor, Diana Vreeland, for advice. Vreeland guided him to pay a visit to Elizabeth Arden since there de la Renta will get a promotion or else in other places he will be overshadowed by Dior. Hence, he began working for Arden until 1965 when he found a job at Jane Derby and then became capable of launching his label. Once Derby past away, Oscar de la Renta took over the company.

Between 1993 and 2002, he created a collection of haute couture for Balmain, a French fashion house.  In 2006, the label branched out its operations to produce bridal dresses. As of 2003, the brand attained international fame and growth under the direction and management of its CEO, Alex Bolen. The label became available in five to more than seventy-four locations. The ready-to-wear collection is available online, in retail stores and across wholesalers worldwide.

Other than apparel designing, he is involved in the business of developing branded fragrances like most designers. Moreover, his company began designing accessories in 2001 and home-furnishing items a year later. In 2004, he introduced a reasonably priced collection of clothes, O Oscar, in the hope to reach new and different customers.

Oscar De la Renta has received many awards for his accomplishments in the fashion industry. He received the Coty Award twice, one in 1967 and the other in 1968. In 1973 he became the member of Coty Hall of Fame. Then he served at the Council of Fashion Designers of America as the President for five years. In addition to this, he won the American Fashion Critic’s Award two times. Furthermore, he was nominated as the Designer of the Year in 2000 and then 2007.  Prior to this, in 1990 he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by CFDA. Additionally, de la Renta was bestowed with La Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil and Gold Medal of Bellas Artes by Spain’s King Juan Carlos. Apart from this, the Dominican Republic honored de la Renta with the Order of Christopher Columbus and Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella. In 2013, Hamilton College, New York presented him with an honorary degree.

The designer opened an orphanage, Casa del Niño, in La Romana. He contributed money in the construction of a school in Punta Cana. He is among the board members of many charitable organizations. De la Renta is a chairperson of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute.

Turning to his personal life, in 1967 he married Françoise de Langlade, who worked at Elsa Schiaparelli and was the chief editor at French Vogue. Later in 1989, he married Annette Engelhard. He has step children from both his marriages and an adopted son as well.


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