Written by Artesia Rose, contributor
Last week the fashion world lost another great designer to cancer. On Monday Oct. 20, Oscar de la Renta passed away in his Kent, CT home at the age of 82. Oscar de la Renta was an internationally renowned designer who knew how to make a women look and feel elegant with his designs. Some of his exquisite clientele included Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney. His fashion career lasted over 50 years and it first began during his apprenticeship under couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga in Madrid. He later left Spain to work under Antonio Castillo at Lanvin as a couture assistant. For almost a decade, Oscar designed the haute couture collection for the house of Balmain where he became the first Dominican to design for a French couture house.
De la Renta was recognized by many organizations, including the Council of Fashion Designers of America, for his excellence in fashion design. Also, he was presented with an Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Another SCAD connection, in 2013 a BFA fibers student landed an internship at ODLR in New York.
Contributing exquisiteness to the fashion world was not his only niche for life, but he devoted his philanthropic efforts to those in need. As a native of the Dominican Republic, he funded an orphanage personally by providing education, food and housing.
A week prior to his death, he named British designer Peter Copping creative director for his fashion house. De la Renta had been battling cancer since 2006 and rumors were speculated in July this year that Copping would become successor to the ODLR brand. Peter resigned from his five year stint at Nina Ricci earlier this month to prepare for his new position, which begins Nov. 3. As mentioned by Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Copping has big shoes to fill as Oscar was larger-than-life and was loved by so many of his clients. Peter’s first collection under the Oscar de la Renta name will debut at New York Fashion Week in February.
Oscar de la Renta recognized the true beauty of life and his impact on the world will forever be felt.