Oscar Aristides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo, better known as Oscar de la Renta, was a fashion designer from the Dominican Republic. He was born into a middle-class family of scholars and was sent to Spain to study abstract art. However, he quickly developed a passion for fashion and set out to succeed in it. In Spain, he received training under Cristobal Balenciaga and Antonio Castillo, which led to positions at Lanvin and Christian Dior in Paris. De Renta wanted to break into ready-to-wear couture and make money after working with these businesses and designers, so he turned to Elizabeth Arden, who helped him establish his own brand. Vogue magazine labeled De Renta the “guru of fashion” in a 1970s issue, and he was always a fan chevalier. Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Cindy Crawford, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others have worn his attractive and feminine designs. De Renta has received numerous honors for his exquisite faultless couture designs, renowned fragrances, heavenly accessories, and perfect homeware, including the Coty Award, CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, Fragrance Foundation’s Perennial Success Award, and others.
Childhood and Adolescence
De Renta was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to Maria Antonia Fiallo, a Dominican mother, and Oscar Avelino de la Renta, a Puerto Rican father. He came from a long line of poets, scholars, mayors, and highly wealthy people.
His father was an insurance agent, and he grew up in a middle-class family. Renta was sent to Academia de San Fernando in Spain when he was 17 years old. He wanted to be an abstract artist.
De Renta quickly established himself in the fashion world, designing for big Spanish fashion houses. Cristobal Balenciaga, the Spanish fashion genius who became his mentor, hired him as an apprentice.
Oscar De La’s Career
De Renta left Spain in 1959 to work at Lanvin in Paris as an assistant to Antonio Castillo. While remaining in Paris, he was approached by Christian Dior. Balenciaga had a big influence on his work at the time.
He went to New York City in 1962 and was offered a job by American fashion designer Elizabeth Arden while at a ball with his friend Count Lanfranco Rasponi.
He debuted with Elizabeth Arden in 1963, and one of his designs was picked up by Helmut Newton for the American Vogue edition the following year.
Despite his success at Elizabeth Arden, de Renta joined Jane Derby in 1965, taking a 33 percent share in the company. Heiress Anne Ford wore his embroidered, ermine-edged bridal gown the same year.
He quickly rose to prominence with Vogue, and his shot was featured in the 1967 issue. In that same year, he received the Coty Award for his ‘Road of Spices’ collection, which he debuted.
He won a second Coty prize for his ‘Belle Epoque collection the following year, as well as the Tiberius award from the Italian fashion industry.
De Renta was elected President of the CFDA in 1973 and inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame. He was also chosen as one of five designers to represent America at the fashion show at Versailles.
In 1975, De Renta created uniforms and decor for the Casa de Campo hotel in La Romana, Santo Domingo. The ‘OSCAR’ fragrance debuted in the fashion industry the following year.
With all of his celebrity and fortune, de Renta decided to give back to society in 1982 by co-founding La Casa del Ni o, a home for disadvantaged Dominican children, with his friend Xiomara Menendez.
He received the CFDA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the early 1990s, and his perfume ‘Oscar’ won the Fragrance Foundation’s Perennial Success Award. He also signed a contract with ‘Balmain’ to create their couture and ready-to-wear collection.
De Renta received the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute’s Gold Medal in 1993, and the following year, he debuted with ‘Balmain couture as the first American designer to lead a French house.
He received the American Society of Perfumers Living Legend Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation at the end of the 1990s. He also dressed Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration.
De Renta received more awards in 2000, including the Bellas Artes Gold Medal, an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, and the CFDA’s Womenswear Designer of the Year Award.
In 2002, de Renta designed uniforms for the Dominican Republic’s police force and launched his new furniture line, and the following year, he was named Designer of the Year by Marymount University.
The American Apparel & Footwear Association recognized de Renta as Designer of the Year in 2004, and the scent ‘OSCAR’ was inducted into the Fragrance Foundation’s Hall of Fame.
The American Heart Association recognized him the next year, and he received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from City College of New York. He was also named Designer of the Year by the Accessories Council.
De Renta earned the Fashion Group International’s Superstar Award, Colleague’s Champion of Children Award, and the ‘Runway to Green’ fashion show finished with an eco-friendly wedding gown designed by him in the late 2000s.
His Major Projects
Apart from creating haute couture for celebrities and Vogue covers, working for the prominent fashion brand ‘Balmain,’ and designing accessories and a homeware line, de Renta’s scent ‘OSCAR’ garnered his tremendous popularity and numerous significant accolades.
Personal History and Legacy
De Renta married Francoise de Langlade, the editor-in-chief of French Vogue, in 1967. It was her third marriage, which terminated when she died from cancer in 1983.
In 1989, De Renta married Annette Engelhard for the second time. Moises de la Renta, his adoptive son, has stepchildren from both marriages.
On the 20th of October 2014, he died of cancer in Kent, Connecticut.
Estimated Net worth
Oscar de la Renta was a fashion designer from the Dominican Republic who died in 2014 with a net worth of $200 million. Oscar de la Renta was a world-renowned fashion designer throughout his lifetime.
Eliza Bolen, his stepdaughter, is Vice President of Licensing at Oscar de la Renta, LLC.
The Orders of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez, and Mella, as well as the Order of Christopher Columbus, have been bestowed upon him.
He also had a less-priced apparel line named ‘O Oscar.’
In 1963, Renta sought assistance from Diana Vreeland, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, claiming that he wanted to “go into ready to wear because that’s where the money is.”
Vreeland answered, “Then travel to Arden to improve your reputation more quickly. She will promote you because she is not a designer. You will always be overshadowed by the name Dior in other areas.”
In the 2003 program ‘Sex and the City,’ it was revealed that Carrie Bradshaw was given a de Renta dress by the designer himself.