“I always say: To be well dressed you must be well naked.”
Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta traveled to Spain to study art at the age of 18. He got his start in the fashion industry as an apprentice to designer Cristobal Balenciaga in Madrid. He later moved to Paris, where he worked for Lanvin under Antonio Castillo, and then to New York, where he worked for Elizabeth Arden for two years before he went to work for Jane Derby. When Derby died in August 1965, he took over the label. In 1967 and 1968, de la Renta won the Coty Award (the US fashion industry ‘Oscars’) and in 1973 was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame. From 1993 to 2002, Oscar de la Renta designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain. From 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988, he served as President of the CFDA. He is also a two-time winner of the American Fashion Critic’s Award. Oscar de la Renta dressed Jackie Kennedy-Onassis, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, Amy Adams, Penelope Cruz, and Amal Alamuddin. Michelle Obama did not wear de la Renta’s designs until October 10, 2014. Oscar de la Renta died October 21, 2014.