You can’t hear his name without also associating the word glamour. His designs can always be found on the red carpet, decorating celebrities and models in suave, rich materials. Even the recent bride, Amal Alamuddin, wore his creation to the ceremony where she wed George Clooney. He originally apprenticed with Cristóbal Balenciaga in Spain before becoming a couture assistant at Lanvin in Paris, and finally developed his own haute couture line.
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A fashion icon for several decades, dressing women such the chic Jacqueline Kennedy of the 1960s to the elegant Amy Adams of the 2000s, de la Renta rose into stardom with his fabulous collections and connections.
Though his name is most often associated with red-carpet gowns, de la Renta also dressed several First Ladies in his time. He dressed women as women dream of dressing – with style, class, femininity, precision, color, and a flourish. No woman would turn down an opportunity to wear one of his creations.
And yet no one, no matter how influential, can escape the reality of death. De la Renta’s long struggle with cancer ended on October 20th in his Connecticut home, and de la Renta faced his illness bravely before he passed on. We should all work towards, not simply a career as successful as Oscar de la Renta, but for the outlook on life that he maintained. He truly understood that life isn’t just about success, clothes, and fame, but about appreciating each day that we are given. De la Renta even said, at an event in 2007,
“Yes, I had cancer. Right now, I am totally clean. The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”