LOS ANGELES – Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who dressed generations of celebrities in red carpet and evening gowns, has died after battling cancer at 82.
In the early 1960s, he came to fame dressing Jackie Kennedy, and founded an influential New York fashion house. Among the actresses who appreciated his glamorous red carpet gowns were Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Kristen Stewart, Penelope Cruz and Jessica Chastain. One of his most recent commissions was Amal Clooney’s wedding dress.
His name was so synonymous with high fashion that an entire “Sex and the City” episode was based on the idea of Carrie Bradshaw receiving a knee-length red poufy dress from her boyfriend Aleksandr Petrovsky.
He can also be seen in 2009 documentary “The September Issue,” about the making of Vogue magazine’s huge annual fall edition.
Though his ruffles and slinky satin dresses were undeniably feminine, he told Elle magazine, “I hate pretty. It’s a very empty word. It gives a bad name to beauty.”
His designs were a favorite of first ladies — he dressed Nancy Reagan in the 1980s and then provided inaugural gowns for Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush. Hillary Clinton introduced a recent retrospective of his designs, saying, “His name alone evokes elegance and timeless beauty. And his designs give each of us a chance to feel like we’re special, too.”
Born in the Dominican Republic to a powerful family, de la Renta went to Spain to study painting and apprenticed with Cristobal Balenciaga before moving to Paris to work at Lanvin and Balmain. He moved to New York where he worked with Elizabeth Arden before launching his ready-to-wear label in 1965.
He married Francois de Langlade, editor of French Vogue, who died in 1983. His second wife, who survives him, is philanthropist Annette Reed. After de Langlade’s death, he adopted a son, Moises, who is a designer and artist.
ABC News reported the news of his death.