Causing a great amount of shock and remorse in the entire fashion industry, the legendary designer Oscar de La Renta took his last breath on the night of 20th October 2014.
At the age of 82, the designer lost his long fight with cancer, leaving a sense of chill for everyone. We last saw him at the recently concluded Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015, where his showcased his last ready to wear collection.
Born on 22nd July 1932, the designer entered the premises of the fashion industry at the tender age of 18. He went to Madrid to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando where he began sketching for top Spanish fashion houses. Some of his earliest career profiles included working with some of the big fashion houses like Balenciaga and Lanvin.
With his Latin-lover good looks, fascination with feminine style, strong colour sense and impeccable social skills, the designer stepped in New York in 1963 to design the made to measure collection for Elizabeth Arden. From this point onwards, de la Renta’s life changed overnight.
A top entrepreneur and power broker of New York in those times, Ben Shaw assisted and backed Jane Derby to curate and launch the label ‘Oscar de la Renta’. Having reached the point where it became necessary to get Oscar into the picture, the label’s launch followed. However, a year after the launch, Jane Derby passed away, and the brand was henceforth handed over to Shaw and de la Renta.
Besides, what is particularly noteworthy about de la Renta’s journeys was ‘An Evening at Versailles’, 1973. The event was a fashion extravaganza held to raise funds to restore the royal estate, which eventually turned into a bit of a competition between two groups comprising of American and French designers.
The event marked the historical American fashion’s triumph over French Fashion, wherein designers de la Renta, Halston, Anne Klein, Bill Blass and Stephen Burrows completely swayed away the show to their advantage with their remarkable presentation and confident attitude. This milestone geared up the careers of all these designers at the much required international forefront.
However, de la Renta then stepped forward to expand the scale of his fashion house by introducing accessories line. Over the years, he bagged some prestigious awards and recognitions like, Council of Fashion Designers of America Women’s Wear Designer of the Year Award in 2000, Perennial Success Award in 1991, CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, 1990, and the CFDA Founders Award, 2013 amongst many others.
Secondary to all his qualities, his creativities and his talents was his possession of the rare gift of feminine friendship and an elegant, classy yet sober lifestyle. The fashion industry, within its realms and beyond, deeply regrets the loss of such an iconic personality. May his soul rest in peace!
Posted at – 5 am 21-10-2014