Fashion Designer Oscar De La Renta Dead At 82

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Model Karlie Kloss, designer Oscar De La Renta and model Joan Smalls pose on the runway at the Oscar De La Renta fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2014 on September 10, 2013 in New York City.

Oscar de la Renta, the legendary Dominican-American fashion designer, has died at age 82, ABC News has confirmed. De la Renta had been battling cancer. 

His work became the preferred wear for such first ladies as Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, and he designed the dress worn by Amal Alamuddin at her wedding in September to George Clooney. Music stars Beyonce, Taylor SwiftLady Gaga and Lee Ann Womack wore his dresses, while movie stars Jessica Chastain, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Stewart were among the designer's great fans. 

Oscar de la Renta Scorecard: His Red Carpet Year

De la Renta was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father. At 18, he moved to Spain to study painting but then switched over to fashion, landing an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga.

“Soon I found that I was more interested in fashion design than I was in continuing as an illustrator,” he once told the Toronto Star. “I think that any experience you have; anything you pay attention to is part of what I call the ‘baggage’ you carry with you all your life. My early involvement with painting, even the fact that I come from a tropical country, are part of who and what I am today.”

He then moved on to Lanvin-Castillo in Paris, where he worked as an assistant to Antonio del Castillo, and then to Elizabeth Arden in New York. He launched his own ready-to-wear label in 1965.

10 Oscar de la Renta Dresses That Wowed

The young de la Renta, as a designer in his own right, first came to public prominence after designing a dress for Jackie Kennedy.

By 1997, de la Renta’s fashion business reportedly was worth $500 million. Later, he expanded into home furnishings, fragrances and other lifestyle products.

Reacting to the designer's death, Hollywood philanthropist Barbara Davis told The Hollywood Reporter: “I feel terrible; everything I wear is from him. He was the sweetest man. He had a flair about him that was more wonderful than any designer I’ve ever know. My daughters wore Oscar; my grandchildren have children’s Oscar, even my mother-in-law wore Oscar. It’s like losing a member of the family.”

De la Renta married Francoise de Langlade, an editor-in-chief of French Vogue, in 1967. She died of bone cancer in 1983. He married socialite Annette Engelhard Reed in 1990.


Last week, Peter Copping, formerly of the French label Nina Ricci, was appointed as creative director of the Oscar de la Renta company.

“Our industry has not always done the best job when it comes to changes in design leadership,” de la Renta said in a statement announcing the Copping hire. “My hope is that, in leading this selection and actively participating in the transition, I can ensure the right design future for our company and brand.”

Celebrities and fashion observers took to social media to share their thoughts and memories of the great designer.