Farewell To an Icon of Fashion & A Homage To A Gentleman Of Elegance: Oscar de la Renta

A Legend In Fashion:  Oscar de la Renta
A Legend In Fashion: Oscar de la Renta

“Elegance is a discipline of life” -Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta. A man of elegance who was a force within fashion. I once met this man of distinction. That moment when I experienced the aura he held I will never forget. The memory of meeting this elegant legend of fashion will endure within my recollections. The suave and debonair aura that pervaded from him matched the penetration of his eyes. Elegance exuded from Oscar de la Renta. If there have been words describing the mystique that he possessed that seemed to captivate those around him, I will attest to that truth. Imbued with graciousness and elegance, the legendary designer had since gone on to become even further synonymous with timeless elegance. “Timeless yet fierce elegance”. Timeless elegance of romantic extravagance. A gentleman who understood the power of “making women look and feel beautiful”. Said to have had an affinity for women, the gifts he bestowed onto the world of fashion in the appreciation of the beauty of women will endure. Paired with an elegant lifestyle that he had successfully cultivated from the beginning, it is no surprise that tributes have poured in for him from around the world. Alas, my tribute. And to acknowledge my favorite quote from this man of elegance and icon of fashion: “Elegance is a discipline of life”. Indeed, it is.

A prolific American designer known for his enduringly dapper style, de la Renta was often described as the “Sultan of Suave”. Suave, indeed. Suaveness exuded from him. Credited with having dressed high society and the oval office in haute couture, this homage is merely a focus on the legend rather than the full history of the designer. For certain, he was a fashion powerhouse…

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta: 1932-2014

“I have always felt my role as a designer is to do the best I can for a woman to make her look her best. Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on” – Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de La Renta:  Elegance In Fashion
Oscar de La Renta: Elegance In Fashion

A brief look back…
Born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 1932, at age 18 he headed to Madrid, Spain to study painting. It was there that he began sketching for Spanish fashion houses and eventually would work with legendary courtier Cristóbal Balenciaga. De la Renta would also become a couture assistant to Antonio Castillo, the designer of Lanvin. It was in 1963, it was that Diana Vreeland would advise de la Renta to take a position in New York to design the made-to-measure collection for Elizabeth Arden. Vreeland’s premise was that Oscar’s own name would eventually be promoted since Arden was not a designer. Vreeland’s assumptions were correct. In 1965, the Oscar de la Renta brand was launched and changed fashion with his “ready-to-wear” collection. Of course, then there was the label… Of note, in 1966 another turning point occurred for de la Renta when Saks Fifth Avenue announced that the store was no longer going to remove the label from the designers fashions. Alas, the label of designer fashions had begun! In 1967, the “Oscar de la Renta Boutique” line opened as “the first secondary ready to wear line from a Seventh Avenue designer”. Fashion forward

Versailles 1973 American Fashion Revoltion & Oscar De La Renta
Versailles 1973 American Fashion Revoltion & Oscar De La Renta

Perhaps the greatest launch of Oscar’s talents was an international event that would alter his future. In 1973, a French fashion extravaganza event entitled “An Evening At Versailles” held to raise funds to refurbish the royal chateau, changed the course of history of Oscar de la Renta. Five French designers (Hubert de Givency, Yves Saint Laurent, Emanuel Ungaro, Andre Oliver (of Cardin) and Marc Bohan (of Christian Dior) selected five American designers newcomers (Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Anne Klein (& her then assistant, Donna Karan), Bill Blass and Stephan Burrows) in what would be referred to as an “American triumph”, With a guest list of 700 which included royalty, the event became legendary. The American designers use of an unprecedented number of black models from the era is said to have created a fashionable revolution in which the American designers and their models are said to have stolen the show, “raising the profiles of the American designers on an international stage”. American fashion “forward”, for certain.

As the fashionable world welcomed the talents of de la Renta with new interest, the years that followed would provide an evolution of style and accessories that would complement his signature line including a line for men. Of course, there were the “Oscar Jeans” for both men and women. Fragrances would follow throughout the years. A nod to his home line including furnishings is certainly important. Perhaps it is not surprising that even as a young designer in New York his townhouse was said to be filled with French and Italian period furnishings paired with Spanish paintings. Imbued with style, for certain.

Considered the “Grand master of American Fashion”, Oscar de la Renta is part of the generation that put American fashion “on the global map”. The striking appeal of his “debonair style paired with his penetrating charm and impeccable social skills” have credited him as a ladies man of fashion, but his skills in dressing women cannot be refuted. The romantic and glamorous styles that have graced women for decades will endure to inspire those that continue to design within the world of fashion. Oscar de la Renta gave credit for his design sense to his past: “My great strength is knowing where I come from- my island”, “From my island side comes my love for the exotic, for color and light”. Color and light paired with billowing ruffles and distinctive designs that became his signature. Timeless elegance, indeed…

Iconic Designer:  Oscar de la Renta
Iconic Designer: Oscar de la Renta

“Things never happen on accident. They happen because you have a vision, you have a commitment, you have a dream” -Oscar de la Renta

An Icon Of Fashionable Style:  Oscar de la Renta
An Icon Of Fashionable Style: Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta:  An Icon Of Fashion
Oscar de la Renta: An Icon Of Fashion
A Designer With An Affinity For Romance:  Oscar de la Renta
A Designer With An Affinity For Romance: Oscar de la Renta
Charm & Suaveness:  The World Of Oscar de la Renta
Charm & Suaveness: The World Of Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta’s first fragrance, “Oscar”, was launched in 1977. One of the leading early American designer scents along with Norell and Blass, “Oscar” became a classic. Many other scents by de la Renta would follow, but the original Oscar, with its “white floral formula” that featured tuberose, even still remains the iconic fragrance. A nod of appreciation to the many scents of Oscar…

The World Of Fragrance Of Oscar de la Renta
The World Of Fragrance Of Oscar de la Renta
"Thank you, Oscar"
“Thank you, Oscar”

“Every season I am inspired by women” -Oscar de la Renta

Evolving Fashions From The World Of Oscar de la Renta
Evolving Fashions From The World Of Oscar de la Renta

“I design clothes for women to wear. I am not interested in shock tactics. I just want to make beautiful clothes” -Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta:  Fashion's icon
Oscar de la Renta: Fashion’s icon
Elegance Of Femininity:  Billowy Dresses Of Oscar de la Renta
Elegance Of Femininity: Billowy Dresses Of Oscar de la Renta

“There is no sound more feminine than a woman in a taffeta dress” -Oscar de la Renta

Glimpses Of The Evolving Fashion's Of Oscar de la Renta
Glimpses Of The Evolving Fashion’s Of Oscar de la Renta

“The qualities I admire most in women are confidence and kindness” –Oscar de la Renta


Fashion's Models & The "Sultan of Suave":  Oscar de la Renta
Fashion’s Models & The “Sultan of Suave”: Oscar de la Renta

“Never, ever confuse what happens on a runway with fashion. A runway is spectacle. It’s only fashion when a woman puts it on” -Oscar de la Renta

Immersed In His World Of Fashion:  Oscar de la Renta
Immersed In His World Of Fashion: Oscar de la Renta

The Final Decade Of The Fashion Of Oscar de la Renta:  Elegance Endures
The Final Decade Of The Fashion Of Oscar de la Renta: Elegance Endures
Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta


“Everyone in life deserves a second chance. I think that life is about forgiving and helping people” -Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta
The Master Of His Own Destiny: Oscar de la Renta Immersed Within The World Of Fashion
The Master Of His Own Destiny: Oscar de la Renta Immersed Within The World Of Fashion
In A World Of His Style: Oscar de la Renta
In A World Of His Style: Oscar de la Renta

“He was very handsome, with a perfect latin-lover look”, “In this business, very few have the charisma and the class of Oscar
Karl Lagerfield

American fashion Royalty
Donatella Versace

“The fashion business says goodbye to a mentor, a legend and an icon
Kenneth Cole

“I always loved him. He was a very sweet guy…we sort of grew up together…As an American designer, he’s one of the greatest. He brought a great deal of class to American fashion and the way he handled himself
Ralph Lauren

“He was a unique man in the history of fashion, both for workmanship and talent, as well as his creativity and class
Donna Karan

“He had an amazing sense of aesthetics and it appeared in his clothes, his houses, his gardens”, “He was one of the greatest American designers, with Latin roots and European training. He love to sing and his voice will continue to sing in our hearts forever.”
Diane von Furstenburg

“There is much being said that his passing marks the end of an era. Not true. He was the most democratic man I knew and would have lived happily and defined any era”, “His designs reflected his extraordinary personality: Optimistic, fun, sunny, romantic”
Anna Wintour/Vouge

“He liked to associate with the sales people as well as the customers. He was one of a kind. He had the ability to mix with the upper crust, but he never lost touch with the working person”
Michael Stern,Past president of Parfums Stern, Oscar de la Renta’s fragrance licensee

“Oscar de la Renta has defined elegance for generations of American women
Peter Copping, recently appointed creative director of Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta

“The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life” -Oscar de la Renta

Farewell, Oscar de la Renta…

Kristin

From My Personal Archives...Oscar
From My Personal Archives, Circa 1998…Oscar
Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Farewell To an Icon of Fashion & A Homage To A Gentleman Of Elegance: Oscar de la Renta

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s