A day after the kickoff of Dominican Fashion Week, the D.R. lost one of its leading fashion lights. Oscar de la Renta, the iconic designer who for decades dressed first ladies and Hollywood stars, passed away last night at the age of 82. The legacy he leaves behind is indelible.
The Dominican-born designer, a capitaleño, left his homeland at the age of 18 to study in Spain. But though he traveled the world and eventually also became a U.S. citizen, his Dominican roots and culture continued to inspire him over the course of his 50+ year career — from his vibrant, colorful palettes, to the domino-inspired dots that appeared in some of his pieces (De la Renta was said to never miss the staff domino game in the kitchen of his summer home in Punta Cana). His vision resonated with everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Sarah Jessica Parker, and he is widely credited with helping to establish American glamour and sophistication.
De la Renta’s mantra was “You rest, you rust,” which helps explain the longevity of his label and his constantly evolving point of view. Beyond making beautiful clothes, he championed the empowerment of women — in an interview with Gotham Magazine, he spoke about Hillary Clinton, saying “Well, I love Hillary [Clinton]. She’s extraordinary, a symbol of where women want to go. I assume we will have a woman president soon.”
For his achievements, he has received numerous accolades and awards, including the order al Merito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristobol Colon from his native Dominican Republic. Below, read some of the Latino creative community’s outpouring of tributes to him:
Hernan Lander (Designer):
Juan Luis Guerra:
Vielka Valenzuela (TV Personality):
Johnny Marines (Romeo Santos Manager):
Kat de Luna:
Jose Jhan (Designer):