Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died of cancer, aged 82. Over the course of a glittering career, he dressed many of the world’s most glamourous women, including stars like Penelope Cruz and Oprah Winfrey as well as political figures like former US first ladies Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and the former Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Most recently, he designed Amal Clooney’s wedding dress.
He held to the view that fashion was a honed skill rather than a lucky knack: “You know today, I don’t really know what it means to be a fashion designer because today you can hit a good tennis ball and be a fashion designer. I learned it in a very different way, and I admire my colleagues who have learned it through years and years and years of hard work. Today you can be a movie star and if your last movie didn’t do too well you become a fashion designer. But you know it’s a craft that you learn. It’s a craft of passion.”
Born in the Dominican Republic, Oscar de la Renta went to Spain to study art before becoming a fashion designer. He made his name in the 1960s dressing Jacqueline Kennedy and was known for his classic approach – his designs were classy, elegant, feminine and featured flattering shapes with clinched waists and full skirts, often in pastel colours.
Oscar de la Renta stepped down as chief executive of his company in 2004, handing over the reins to Alex and Eliza Bolen but continued designing and showing his collections himself.