Thursday, October 23, 2014

Some of Oscar de la Renta's Great Hits

Oscar de la Renta couture designs for Balmain in the recently closed retrospective of the designer's work, "Oscar de la Renta Five Decades of Style," at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. Photo courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

A ladies man. From ladies who lunch, to first ladies to leading ladies to young ladies taking those first baby steps into full womanhood, he dressed them all.

Sandra Bullock in Oscar de la Renta at the 76th Annual Academy Awards in 2004. Archive photo.

Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo. Though the fashion world is in deep mourning over the death Monday at 82 of the man known the world over as Oscar de la Renta, the designer will live on through the exquisite frocks that emanated from his atelier. These are shoes that shan't easily – if ever – be filled.

Oscar de la Renta with models wearing his designs in 1973 at his induction into the Coty Hall of Fame. The award was bestowed on the designer in 1967 and 1968. Archive photo.

“I want to make clothes that people will wear, not styles that will make a big splash on the runway,” ODLR has said.

Yet his runway was the setting for both. Accessible. Transportive. Elegant. One could literally quit the runway for lunch or gala or awards ceremony without upsetting sartorial sensibilities. (See video of September's Spring 2014 show).

A citizen of both his native Dominican Republic and the United States, ODLR, along with Bill Blass and Geoffrey Beene, helped put U.S. fashion on the maps that the doubtful and dismissive European gatekeepers were reading. Of course, ODLR was helped by having work in France. He understood the importance of having that city on his resume.

Then First Lady Laura Bush (with first dogs) in Oscar de la Renta outside the White House. Photo courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

“If you want to establish an international presence you can't do so from New York,” he once remarked. “You need the consecration of Paris.”

Jacqueline Kennedy was the first of the presidential wives to wear Oscar de la Renta. Archive photo.

Long after he had made a huge name for himself and won many prestigious awards, this old workhorse nimbly and shrewdly continued to evolve with the times and technology. He did not rest on his laurels. Many products beyond clothes and fragrances bear the de la Renta moniker ...

It is natural to mourn, but long after the mourning period comes to an end, a beautiful and bountiful legacy will continue.

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