emblematic elegance

Oscar De La Renta: 50 Years Of Elegance In Fashion

Ana B. Remos

Fifty glorious years of emblematic elegance.

This year marks 50 years since Oscar de la Renta joined the fashion world. At 80, the designer has become a true icon and a symbol of elegance. His timeless designs have dressed the most stylish and glamorous women in the world.De la Renta has an uncanny ability to make women embrace their femininity. Weather in his elegant formalwear, or clad in classic tailored suits, they are guaranteed excellent craftsmanship and superb textiles. His easy and colorful palette is rooted in his childhood, growing up along the breezy shores of the Caribbean. He left his homeland, the Dominican Republic, at age 18 to study painting at Madrid’s famous Royal Academy of San Fernando.


He discovered his early interest in haute couture while in Spain, which led to an internship with one of fashion’s legendary classic designers, Cristóbal Balenciaga, the Spanish genius that transformed the way we looked at clothes in the 1950s.

After his stint at Balenciaga, Oscar moved to Paris in 1961 to join another renowned label, Lanvin. His masterful skills did not go unnoticed, and soon he found himself working for yet another prestigious brand. He was hired to create a haute couture collection for Pierre Balmain. De la Renta made history with this commission, and became the first Latin American to design a collection for a French fashion house. Years later, he moved to New York to work for Elizabeth Arden.

In the 50 years that have passed since his first sketches, de la Renta has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and clients. He’s managed to create a business empire, founded in 1965, that today extends to couture, ready-to-wear, bridal, children´s clothes, perfumes, shoes, jewelry, accessories and household items.

The list of women that faithfully follow Oscar is endless. He has become the go-to designer of movie stars and celebrities for their most special engagements. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Creel, Karolina Kurkova, Eliza Reed Bolen, Coco Brandolini, Lea Michele, Zooey Deschanel and Cameron Diaz are some of the women who worship his creations. But his true muse and companion during all these years has been his wife, the exquisite Annette de la Renta (Annette France Engelhard), whom he married in 1989.

Currently in his eighties, the artist maintains the same energy that has always characterized him, producing some of the most anticipated and successful collections every year. In the latest installment of New York Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2013, de la Renta surprised the fashion world with his collaboration with John Galliano, whose designs were praised by the critics, and by the women who turn to Oscar de la Renta for the timeless elegance that bears his stamp of distinction.


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