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RIP.....Fashion Icon "El Maestro" Oscar de la Renta: In Memorium

Oscar de la Renta Final Runway Bow: Oscar de la Renta Spring 2014 Collection, NY Fashion Week September 9, 2014

I was very sad yesterday to hear of the passing of Fashion Design Icon--or as Fern Mallis described him as "The Sultan of Suave", Oscar de la Renta. As a young boy growing up in Caracas Venezuela dreaming to be a fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta was one of my IDOLS. Not only did I love and admire de la Renta's beautiful so-Lady Like designs, but he was LATINO. And this was especially nice to a young half-Latino boy who didn't see many other Latino fashion designers out there to "look up to".

This continued once I moved with my family to the United States and the San Francisco Bay Area. My mom--always supportive of my dream--found out one year that Oscar de la Renta would be making an appearance at San Francisco I. Magnin Union Square and she dragged me (kicking and screaming!--Not!) to get to meet him. And I did.  There's a photo of that somewhere. I'm sure it's in one of my mom's many "photo album" storage boxes. Meeting him that day was EVERYTHING to me.

Oscar de la Renta was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to a Dominican mother of Spanish descent (particularly Canarian), Carmen María Antonia Fiallo, and a Puerto Rican father, Óscar Avelino Renta. The Fiallos were so embedded in Dominican society that they could count poets, scholars, and businessmen as well as top army brass among their members.
Oscar de la Renta with Nati Abascal

At the age of 18, he went to study painting in Spain at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. He quickly became interested in the world of fashion design and began sketching for leading Spanish fashion houses, which soon led to an apprenticeship with Spain's most renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. He considers Cristóbal Balenciaga his mentor.

Oscar de la Renta and his doggies--photographed by Irving Penn for Vogue Magazine, 1982

Later, de la Renta left Spain to join Antonio del Castillo as a couture assistant at Lanvin in Paris. After returning to NYC, he began his own label in 1965. And the rest, as they say, is history. De la Renta has dressed many a First Lady, Celeb and Socialite. Here's a look back:

First Lady Jackie Kennedy in Oscar de la Renta

First Lady Hillary Clinton in Oscar de la Renta gowns

Former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton presenting Oscar de la Renta with the "Founder's Awards" at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards last year.

Former First Lady Laura Bush in Oscra de la Renta gown

Mrs. George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin in her Oscar de la Renta wedding gown, 2014

Oscar de la Renta with friend and client, Barbara Walters

Oscar de la Renta, Philanthropist (and Fashion Diva!) Brooke Astor and former First Lady Nancy Reagan, in Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta with former First Lady Nancy Reagan and Barbara Walters, both in his designs

Oscar de la Renta and Oprah Winfrey (wearing a custom design of his)--Met Gala 2010

Sarah Jessica Parker--in a custom Oscar de la Renta ball gown--Met Gala 2014

 Oscar de la Renta for the House of Balmain, 1998--Oscar de la Renta was the Creative Director/Designer for the house of Balmain from 1993 to 2002

Oscar de la Renta's designs through the decades:


1980s--Iman in Oscar de la Renta

1980s--Vogue Patterns Magazine

 1994 with Naomi Campbell

1991 with Linda Evangelista and Yasmeen Ghauri


Final Collection Spring 2015:
Final Collection Spring 2015--in the last several seasons, Oscar de la Renta had hired John Galliano to "ghost design" several of the collections and most recently, he appointed British designer Peter Copping,who had designed for Louis Vuitton and Rochas, to head the design atelier. I am sure Copping will take the Oscar de la Renta brand and look of classic, elegant, chic designs to its next page in fashion history.

Adios Oscar de la Renta.

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