[quote type=”center”]Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself. – Oscar De La Renta [/quote]
An iconic American designer and a great gentleman, Oscar de la Renta passed away last night, leaving behind an incredible body of work and an impressive list of clients (including every first lady since Jackie Kennedy and a roster of celebrities) . Over five decades he empowered women through fashion with his elegant and tasteful creations that combined his talent with the knowledge he took away from working at the house of Balenciaga in Spain and Lanvin in Paris.
Today we’re honoring not only Oscar De La Renta’s heritage, but also his philanthropic work: he personally supported an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, providing food, education, and hope for those beautiful children.
[quote type=”center”] Known for his appropriate elegance, he always designed with the ultimate motivation that women must look and feel beautiful. – André Leon Talley [/quote]
Robin Givahn writes in The Washington Post, “De la Renta, who was born in the Dominican Republic, began his career in Europe, honing his craft in the great ateliers of Paris, where haute couture was the standard. He arrived in New York in the 1960s, believing that ready-to-wear and the informality of American design were fashion’s future.
He came in an unabashed search for fame and fortune. In 1973, he was one of five American designers who showed their work alongside the greatest French couturiers of the day in a gala benefit at Versailles. The Americans won over the international crowd and had them cheering “Bravo” with clothes that allowed women to move freely and to strut with independence and confidence. He helped to prove to the world that American style could hold its own on the world stage. He represented a generation of designers who’d had to claw their way forward — from backroom hacks to a place in history.”
[quote type=”center”]The qualities I admire in women are confidence and kindness. – Oscar De La Renta [/quote]
Celebrity clients and the fashion world have been paying tribute to the late designer on social media. Supermodel Karlie Kloss thanked the late fashion designer for “helping me become the woman I am today” adding, “the world lost one of the most extraordinary people that I have ever met.”
Naomi Campbell – who was hired by the designer in the early stages of her career – described him as a “gentleman of fashion”, also sharing a photo of herself on his catwalk with the caption: “You made this come true”.
Actress and model Padma Lakshmi also paid tribute, calling de la Renta, “a true, master craftsman and gentleman,” while Ivanka Trump named him “one of the greatest fashion icons of all time.”
Fellow designer Rachel Roy shared a snap of herself at an event with de la Renta, writing, “Devastated. A true class act, gentleman, legendary genius.”
Designer Marc Jacobs tweeted that the “fashion icon” would be missed.
Diane von Furstenberg added: “Oscar de la Renta was a wonderful designer, a true Renaissance man. His voice will continue to sing in our hearts.”
Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman spoke of the designer’s enduring talent and legacy. “Of all the designers in the world, Oscar de la Renta was the most reliable at designing clothes that made you feel beautiful,” Shulman said on Vogue.co.uk this morning.
Click through the slideshow to see the most memorable Oscar De La Renta moments.
Rest in peace, maestro. You will be remembered.