Oscar de la Renta, was a Dominican fashion designer. De la Renta became internationally known in the 1960s as one of the couturiers who dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. He worked for Lanvin and Balmain. His eponymous fashion house has boutiques around the world including in Harrods of London and Madison Avenue in New York.
A stalwart of the New York fashion scene, the designer built an internationally recognised brand through charm and grace, and was thought of as one of the great gentlemen of fashion. It was De la Renta that coaxed John Galliano back into the studio to collaborate with him, following the troubled designer's departure from Christian Dior. Over the course of his career his designs proved exceptionally popular with American presidential ladies, including Nancy Regan, Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush.
De la Renta was one of the last designers to have been trained by the greats themselves. In 1950, aged 18, De la Renta left his native Santo Domingo to study art at The Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. After sketching for a variety of design houses, he secured an internship with Spain’s greatest couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga. De la Renta himself has been the recipient of both Coty and CFDA awards, receiving the Coty award in 1967 and 1968, a CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990, and the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2000, and again in 2007 when he tied with Proenza Schouler.
De la Renta began his own signature ready-to-wear label in 1965. The label was an immediate hit thanks to De la Renta’s use of colour, his vibrant prints and romantic rendering of Spanish and Caribbean silhouettes. The success of his line led to the launch of a perfume in 1977, as well as expansion into diffusion and bridal lines later in his career. Between 1993 and 2002 De la Renta designed the haute couture collections for Balmain, becoming the first Dominican to design for a French couture house.