The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Remembering Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta died on Oct. 20 in his home at the age of 82 due to  a debilitating fight with cancer.

Starting his fashion career in Spain in the 1950s, de la Renta impacted the fashion world with his designs. De la Renta made dresses for first ladies, such as Jackie Kennedy, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, and his designs appeared on red carpets for years.

His career started when drew sketches for fashion houses and newspapers. After designing a dress for the daughter of the United States ambassador to Spain, he became widely known, and got a job with Cristobal Balenciaga, a Spanish designer who is most famous for introducing a new silhouette for women.  Although this job did not last long, he was accepted for a job in Paris. After a few years, deciding to go to the United States, de la Renta took over the Seventh Avenue company.

“I like how inventive he was with his designs. He was the go to person for red carpet designs. He did modern takes on old looks,” senior Olivia DiCampo said.

De la Renta spent a lot of time in his home town of Santo Domingo and at his second home in Punta Cana, both in the Dominican Republic, where he often did interviews and came up with the inspiration for his new designs. He did not like to talk too much about his public image or legacy, preferring instead to talk about his vegetable garden or what his opinions on recent fashion lines.

“Generally he was not given to the sort of gnomic utterances that send industry watchers into fits of excited parsing,” Vanessa Friedman of the New York Times said.

He was famous for calling celebrities and other designers out; de la Renta never shied away from controversy. His comment on Michelle Obama’s choice to wear designer labels when meeting with the Chinese Prime Minister became big news, and he was known to criticize editors who made questionable fashion choices, such as miniskirts.

He was inducted into the Coty Hall of Fame in 1973, and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

“He would be standing backstage, in a perfectly tailored pinstriped shirt and silk tie, pocket handkerchief flopping just so, waiting for the audience to show up,” Friedman said.

His last dress was made for Amal Alamuddin, wife of George Clooney, for their wedding in Venice. This ivory beaded tulle dress was raved about for weeks after the wedding, and is a great representation of the legacy that de la Renta left behind.

“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,” de la Renta said.

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Kyla Hatton, Sports Editor
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Remembering Oscar de la Renta