The designer was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932 and rose to fame in the '60s when he dressed Jacqueline Kennedy. He went on to outfit several other first ladies, including Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. He enjoyed an especially close relationship with Secretary Clinton, whom he dressed for her 1998 Vogue cover and for Chelsea Clinton's wedding. In 2013, Clinton presented de la Renta with the CFDA's prestigious Founder's Award and called the designer "a dear friend."
In recent years, de la Renta served as a designer of choice for actresses and celebrities, creating gowns that were glamorous and feminine without being fussy. Most recently, he appeared in the October issue of Vogue alongside Amal Clooney, whose wedding dress he designed.
Over the course of his career, de la Renta worked for Lanvin and Balmain. He launched his eponymous line in 1965, and received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990. This past month, his label named a new creative director, Peter Copping, to take the helm. De la Renta is survived by his wife of 25 years, French-born philanthropist Annette de la Renta, and son Moises de la Renta.
Oscar de la Renta created the kinds of fantastical, fairy-tale pieces that had all the stateliness and gravitas of the most storied European couturiers, but with the unique optimism of American fashion. Tonight, the industry mourns the loss of an icon.