Culture The Rundown

Oscar de la Renta – Five Decades of Beauty

“He died exactly as he lived – with tremendous grace, great dignity and very much on his own terms…”

- Alex and Eliza Bolen, 

From the news of the Pistorius sentence to the death of De la Renta, the name Oscar is a heavy one to hear today.

The fallen Paralympic star was given his sentence today (5 years, which effectively boils down to 10 months with parole) for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year. But just before this story began its end in court, the iconic designer died at his home in Connecticut, two hours outside of New York where his influence had become stitched into the fabric of the city.

De la Renta’s family, and the executives of his company, posted a statement on his website, describing his work ethic and love of life, which was evident right up until he showed his last collection at New York Fashion Week just a few days ago. Although he was born in the Dominican Republic, de la Renta became one of America’s biggest names over the past 5 decades – making women from the White House to Hollywood feel beautiful. Oh, how us mere mortals would swoon at the sight of his elegant and tulle-filled designs.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama (eventually), Penelope Cruz – all wore his creations. One of my favourite gowns remains the number SJP wore to the Met Ball earlier this year. She reportedly asked de la Renta, at the time, to sign his name to his dress, saying he would never do it of his own accord. As the pic from FashionDaily shows, it added a striking yet soft touch to the gown.


And which Sex and the City fan worth her weight in Manolos could forget the scene where Carrie reads Petrovsky the kind of poetry she loved, Oscar-inspired words, naturally.

For an in-depth look at De la Renta’s life and career, this Women’s Wear Daily obit is a comprehensive and inspiring piece, while the Washington Post, like many others, has compiled a list of his best gowns.

May his soul rest in peace.



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