According to Forbes, de la Renta’s stepdaughter Eliza, and her husband Alex, (CEO of Oscar de la Renta, the brand) produced a statement for the website’s homepage that read, “he died exactly as he lived: with tremendous grace, great dignity and very much on his own terms.”
Living with cancer, de la Renta valued life that much more. In 2013 he stated that “the only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die…We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life.”
A legendary designer in the fashion industry, de la Renta dressed many celebrities and public figures, including Jacquelyn Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” and Amal Clooney (Alamuddin). One of the best things to ever happen to fashion, specifically New York fashion, was de la Renta moving to New York in 1963 and beginning his first line.
De la Renta’s mark on the world of style and fashion will never be forgotten. His family and staff members will continue to run the business in his honor.
In 2004, very shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer, de la Renta stepped down from his position of chief executive of the company, (handing it over to Alex and Eliza Bolen) but, was still very much a part of the company. He was integral to the design process designs and showed collections at New York Fashion Week. Before his death, de la Renta created new plans for his successions in announcing Peter Copping as the new creative director of the company, leaving the world skeptical of what was to come.
Impacting fashion and style for more than four decades, fellow designers in the industry honored and admired his work and class. He impacted more than just the fashion world by serving as a board member of The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, devoting time to children’s charities and funding schools in the Dominican Republic, his native country.
He created new standards of elegance and grace and, as an acclaimed designer, received many awards including numerous Cody Awards, a Founders Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CFDA.
From styling the first ladies of his time to being the first American designer to ever show at Paris Fashion week, de la Renta revolutionized fashion and took the industry to a new level. He possessed immense creativity, individuality and originality. His career knew no bounds and he continuously blew the world away with his designs, whether they be anything from couture to bridal wear. As many may not know, de la Renta was not solely a women’s fashion designer. His creations spanned from fragrances, a home collection and furniture.
Close friend, Anna Wintour wrote an exceptional tribute to her memories with Oscar de la Renta and the beautiful friendship they had inside and outside of their shared industry, featured on vogue.com.
An inspiration to women, de la Renta supported and understood modern women. He explained, “I have always felt my role as a designer is to do the very best I can for a woman to make her look her best. Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on.”
As designer Zac Posen eloquently said, “Mr. de la Renta was one of America’s greatest designers and he was an inspiration to the entire industry. His exceptional vision, outstanding integrity and warm character will be immensely missed by everyone who knew him.”
Rest in peace to an icon who transformed fashion and an industry that will be forever grateful for your wisdom, designs and ingenuity.