He is known as the founder of the classy self-titled fashion house that dresses leading figures in the society, from movie stars to royalty. His international recognition came in the 1960s when he was fortunate to be one of the fashion designers who dressed former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. De la Renta was particularly known for making women feel gorgeous with his signature red carpet and evening gowns. He also dabbled into the business of developing branded fragrances.
Towards the end of his teenage years, Oscar went to study painting at an academy in Madrid and while he was a student, he drew clothes for newspapers and apparel houses for extra cash. Francesca Lodge, the wife of the then U.S Ambassador to Spain saw one of these drawings then commissioned him to design a gown for her daughter. He delivered an exceptional work and this dress appeared on the cover of a huge magazine that fall. This was all the push Renta needed ad he quickly took fashion designing seriously and ultimately became an apprentice with Spain’s most renowned couturier, Cristobal Balenciaga and an assistant at the Lanvin high fashion house in Paris.
Date of Birth: July 22, 1932
Date of Death: October 20, 2014 (aged 82)
Zodiac Sign: Cancer
De la Renta was a favorite with society ladies as he tempered female aesthetics with a friendly demeanor. The tall and handsome icon became the go-to designer for models, artists, actresses and even first ladies thanks to his love for sumptuous floral motifs. Surrounded by friends and family, Oscar decided to shut down his life support after battling cancer for a decade; though dead, his works still speak his great talents till date. His intelligence, hard work and love of life remain at the heart of his company. Read on as we take you through the family of the late Dominican philanthropist.
Oscar Avelino de la Renta (father)
Avelino always hoped that his only son would take over the family’s thriving insurance business so he never approved of Oscar’s initial dream of becoming a painter.
Maria Antonio Fiallo (mother)
Maria comes from a family that was so embedded in the Dominican society. She had poets, scholars, businessman and top army brass among her relatives. She died when her son was only 18 from complications of multiple sclerosis.
Oscar De La Renta’s siblings
Oscar is the youngest of seven children and the only male child in his family. According to Vogue he was the only child Maria had with Oscar Sr. We know only 2 names of his 6 stepsisters Thelma Maria and Georgina Renta Fiallo. It is said that he is survived only by his 3 sisters.
Francoise de Langlade (former spouse)
Duration of Marriage: October 31, 1967 – 1983; her death (16 years)
Date of Birth: December 6, 1921
Date of Death: June 17, 1983 (aged 61)
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
Francoise was an editor-in-chief for French vogue and also worked in the fashion house for Elsa Schiaparelli. She had been married twice before meeting the renowned Oscar but their marriage was indeed a lovely one until she passed away from bone cancer in 1983.
While they were together, Francoise played an active role in her husband’s career broth by introducing him to some of the most influential members of the fashion society and invited many celebrities to grace his shows and ultimately become his clients. De Langlade’s death was a great tragedy for the apparel master as they were the perfect couple; in fact they had been tagged fashion industry’s most famous husband-and-wife partnerships.
Annette de la Renta (nee Reed) (spouse)
Duration of Marriage: December 26, 1989 – 2014; his death (25 years)
Date of Birth: December 24, 1939
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn
A few years after Francoise died, Oscar married fellow designer Annette. She is also a philanthropist and socialite from a prominent family. Through Annette, Oscar became step-father to Beatrice Phelps, Charles Reed and Eliza Bolen who were children from her previous relationship.
Moises de la Renta (adopted son)
Date of Birth: 1984
After his first wife died, Oscar went on to adopt a child from a Dominican Republic orphanage and named him Moises. They were not in good relationship after Moises tried to launch his own fashion line MDLR Black in 2005.