Oscar de la Renta has lived a fulfilling life in the fashion world, and continues to make a lasting impression with multiple labels. One of the world’s most famous and recognized names in the fashion industry, de la Renta has created an empire. Most known for his elaborate gowns and care for detail, he has a gorgeous line that always keeps heads turning.
Born on July 22, 1932, Oscar de la Renta grew up in the capitol of the Dominican Republic. The bright colors and tropical flowers of his island childhood would later influence his designs in fashion. He took an interest in painting, and decided to head to Spain to further develop his skill. He studied painting at The Academy of San Ferdinand in Madrid at the age of 18. Immersed in all of the Spanish culture, de la Renta became interested in fashion.
Soon after, in 1950, he took an apprenticeship with the famous Cristobal Balenciaga. He begins to sketch for the world-renowned designer and learns the tricks of the trade from observing the workrooms and studying the clothing and techniques. Years later, around 1960, de la Renta moves to Paris where he joins Antonio Castillo at Lanvin as a couture assistant. There he continues to sketch. He is inspired by the use of feathers, jewels, and trims used by Castillo in couture designs. In 1963, however, Oscar realizes the future of fashion lies more in ready-to-wear than couture, so he leaves for America. He ends up continuing to work in custom-made clothing designing for Elizabeth Arden. She allows carrying his name on the label though and gains him name recognition. Two years later the recognition pays off.
In 1965, the Oscar de la Renta signature label is created. He combines the vibrant colors of his youth with the luxe fabrics and embellishments of his previous employment to create fashionable and elegant designs. Retailers and critics alike immediately loved his outfits. His hard work soon pays off, as he is rewarded in 1967 and 1968 with the Coty American Fashion Critic’s Award. He wins further acclimation in 1973 when he is admitted to the Coty Hall of Fame. From 1973-1977 de la Renta leads the Council of Fashion Designers of America as president. Other prestigious awards include de la Renta’s 1990 win for the CDFA Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as Womenswear Designer of the Year in 2000 and 2007.