New York Fashion Week–Why We Love Oscar de la Renta


“King of Evening,” “Sultan of Suave”—or simply “Oscar,” by his inner circle, designer Oscar de la Renta is widely considered to be one of the living legends of fashion.

His prowess for creating astonishingly chic eveningwear and red-carpet gowns has made him designer-of-choice for societal figures, first ladies—and royalty, for decades.

Standing on the shoulder of giants to become a giant himself, de la Renta had worked with some of the most successful fashion houses in the world, including Elizabeth Arden and Lanvin, Paris.

Born in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father, de la Renta grew up in a privileged household. When he was 18, de la Renta moved to Spain to study painting at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. There, his interest in fashion grew and he began creating sketches for top fashion houses. He eventually landed and apprenticeship with legendary designer Cristóbal Balenciaga. De la Renta considered Balenciaga his mentor, as the renowned designer taught him the secrets of design.

After his tenure with Balenciaga, de la Renta moved to Paris to join Antonio de Castillo as couture assistant at Lanvin.

In 1963, De la Renta moved on to work for Elizabeth Arden for the next two years. In 1965 he began to work for American designer Jane Derby. Shortly after Derby’s passing, de la Renta was made head of the label. De la Renta ran the label under the name, “Oscar de la Renta for Jane Derby.” That same year, de la Renta launched his own clothing line and by 1974 he merged the two businesses to form “Oscar de la Renta.”

The charismatic designer made a splash in the fashion world. He moved within a cadre of society’s upper crust and in the inner circles of the American style scene. His sumptuous lifestyle was fodder for media at the time. De la Renta’s clothing line was very representative of the lavish life he enjoyed, and he soon won over the patronage of first ladies like Jacqueline Kennedy — who would become one of his biggest clients. He later became the go-to designer for First Ladies Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush–who he dressed on Inauguration Day.

Between 1993 and 2002, de la Renta designed haute couture for the house of Balmain. Over the years he has diversified his brand to include, eye-wear, perfume, accessories and even furniture. In 2006 the designer further expanded his label to include a bridal collection.

We have followed Oscar de la Renta for years—from New York Fashion Week to 3,000 miles across the country, as yearly, he is the toast of the West Coast at an expansive Oscar de la Renta waterfront fashion show at Lake Tahoe attended by California’s most fashionable ladies. We’ve also gotten to know de la Renta’s long-time (40+years!) wonderful right-hand man—Boaz Mazor—and the team at Oscar de la Renta, who epitomize the excellence and perfection of the man—and the brand.

Even now we marvel at the way de la Renta’s feminine designs evoke romanticism with a hint of Latin flair. His ability to admix meticulous, old school craftsmanship with innovative, contemporary design makes him a favorite for modern-day beauties like Zooey Deschanel–who wore Oscar de la Renta to last weekend’s Emmy Awards. Zooey charmed the crowd in the gorgeous pink, floor-length gown. The feminine look allowed her to top several “Best dressed” lists.

As one of the most celebrated designers in the business, de la Renta has won numerous awards including the 1990 CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award and awarded the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes by King Juan Carlos of Spain.

An accomplished and influential designer who serves as inspiration for designers of today, Oscar de la Renta has cemented his place in fashion history forever–and he continues to inspire with fresh, modern-day classics and the innovation and perfection of a maestro.

We can’t wait to see Spring-Summer 2015!

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