When I created the list of “Stars I’d Love To Interview,” I didn’t contemplate how I’d mark the passing of one. So, now, as I mourn the loss of the incredible Dominican designer Oscar de la Renta, I have decided that italicizing is the best option. After all, Italics are used to emphasize a point and while he’s no longer with us, there were quite a few things the great Oscar de la Renta helped us understand through continual emphasis, like the idea that his job as a designer was to make women feel their best.
When I envision the interview with Oscar de la Renta that never happened, I picture us sitting side by side, like friends. This man had an aura that from afar could communicate how humble and grateful he was to be where he was. He not only made women feel beautiful, but he reminded us day after day that no dream is too grand, regardless of where you come from.
Because I’ll never get a chance to sit down with him and get him to share his own story, I’ve decided to do what my journalistic heart yearns to do: I’ve compiled some of his biography.
They say our life is the story we tell the world, the message we leave behind. If this is the case, there is no doubt in my mind that Oscar de la Renta will surpass the test of time.
Oscar de la Renta was born on July 22, 1932 and was raised alongside six sisters in a middle-class home in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At age 18, he left the Dominican Republic to study art at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. While he originally dreamed of becoming a painter, he was quickly consumed by the mesmerizing world of fashion. His talent for the arts and his ability to create an impressive fashion sketch landed him an apprenticeship with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga.
In 1961, while on vacation in Paris, he was hired for his first fashion job at Lanvin-Castillo. Two years later, he moved to New York and formed part of the American design house Elizabeth Arden. He began his own label in 1965.
Oscar de la Renta became a popular choice amongst American first ladies , from Nancy Reagan in the 1980s and then Hillary Clinton in 1997 and Laura Bush in 2005. Furthermore, stars like Sarah Jessica Parker have donned his designs.
The legendary Oscar de la Renta died on October 20, 2014, but not without leaving incredible words, designs and a story of passion and perseverance behind to inspire.
Mr. Oscar de la Renta, Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for inspiring me to dream big.
“The qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.” – Oscar de la Renta