Oscar de la Renta, Legendary Designer, Dead at 82

Oscar de la Renta

The legendary fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, who has dressed leading ladies from Penelope Cruz to Amy Adams, every first lady since Jackie Kennedy, and most recently the newlywed, Amal Alamuddin Clooney (see “Can George Clooney’s Wife Rescue the Elgin Marbles?“), has died at age 82.

The cause of his death was not immediately announced by family, however, it is known that the designer was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, despite stating last year that he was “totally clean,” reports CNN.

Born in the Dominican Republic on July 22, 1932 , de la Renta was the only son of seven children. Although his father had different aspirations for him, at 18 years old, he left for Spain to study at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. De la Renta dabbled in abstract art briefly but he soon realized that fashion was his true passion. His ascent into the fashion industry began when the wife of the U.S Ambassador to Spain saw his dress sketches, and commissioned him to create a gown for her daughter. After the dress appeared on the cover of Life magazine, de la Renta knew it was his calling.

After an apprenticeship with Spain’s acclaimed Cristobal Balenciaga, a job at Lanvin in Paris, and a stint as designer for Elizabeth Arden in New York, de la Renta launched his own eponymous label in 1965, forever changing the fashion landscape.

Recently, Oscar de la Renta, the company, announced Peter Copping as its new creative director. “Our industry has not always done the best job when it comes to changes in design leadership. My hope is that, in leading this selection, and actively participating in the transition, I can insure the right design future for our company and brand,” de la Renta said in a statement last week.

De la Renta had previously been married for 16 years to former editor of French Vogue, Francoise de Langlade, who died of bone cancer in 1983. He is survived by his second wife, Annette Engelhard Reed, and a son.

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