Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican Fashion designer. Born in Santo Domingo, he was trained by Cristobal Balenciaga and Antonio Del Castillo; he became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers to dress Jacqueline Kennedy. An award-winning designer, he worked for Lanvin and Balmain; his eponymous fashion house continues to dress leading figures, from film stars to royalty.
Surely no man could look more refined than he, in his light-gray custom-made suit, discreetly monogrammed shirt, and quiet tie held immaculately in place with a gold clip. “I have to tell you that I’ve been dressing this way since I was a young man,” he explained amiably. “I was 18 years old when I arrived in Spain, and at that time you could have a custom-made suit for eight dollars.”
Mr. de la Renta has survived all these years in the punishing world of high fashion because he has uncannily never gone out of fashion. The distinguished couturier who has dressed Mrs. Reagan, Mrs. Bush, and Mrs. Clinton is also worn on the sacred red carpet by Halle Berry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Anne Hathaway.
De la Renta’s influence, of course, spans the world. “Of all the designers in the world, Oscar de la Renta was the most reliable at designing clothes that made you feel beautiful,” says British Vogue Editor in Chief Alexandra Shulman. “He stuck to his conviction about how women should look — elegant, joyful, feminine — no matter how fashion changed, but his designs never felt old or hackneyed. If you wore one of Oscar’s dresses you felt you looked your best, which is one of the reasons that he was so often a first choice for ball gowns, weddings and public appearances throughout the world.”
“All the women who can afford to buy my clothes! My customers are successful working women. They might be spending less at the moment, but my approach is that fashion must always be optimistic, and that a woman will always be enticed by beautiful clothes.”
“You’re a happy man?”
“I’m extraordinarily happy,” Oscar de la Renta concluded, looking grateful and glad.