Feliz Cumpleaños, Oscar!
Oscar de la Renta was born to design 79 years ago today in the Dominican Republic. The Fashion 411: He left home to study painting at 18. Worked as fashion illustrator for fashion houses in Madrid. Landed apprenticeship with Spain’s renowned couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Left Spain to work as couture assistant at House of Lanvin in Paris. Came to New York in 1963 to design couture collection for Elizabeth Arden. Began his signature ready-to-wear label in 1965, which quickly came to represent casual luxury to society women—many of them friends of his then-wife, Françoise de Langlade, editor of French Vogue. That’s what I call a très chic career path!
Oscar served as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and in 1990 they gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. He became the first American designer to be awarded a major post at a French couture house in 1993 when he became head designer at Pierre Balmain. He won the CFDA Womanswear Designer of the Year Award in 2000.
His clientele has been chock full of socialites, celebrities and former First Ladies. His gorgeous designs are romantic and feminine, with a kaleidoscopic palette of silk prints, ruffles and soft silhouettes, blending European luxury with American ease.
“I like light, color, luminosity. I like things full of color and vibrant.” ~Oscar de la Renta
“Now is the most exciting time in fashion. Women are controlling their destiny now, the consumer is more knowledgeable, and I have to be better every single day.”
~Oscar de la Renta