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Oscar de la Renta

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From Anne Hathaway, Beyonce, and Oprah Winfrey to Amal Alamuddin and every First Lady since Jacqueline Kennedy, world renowned fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has worked with many important celebrities and has made quite a name for himself. His net worth was at least $200 million by year 2014.

Sadly, Oscar de la Renta has recently passed away on October 20, 2014. He was found in his home in Kent, Connecticut. The cause of death was not immediately known. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, but said in 2013 that he was “totally clean” according to CNN News.

Born on July 22, 1932 in the Dominican Republic, he was the only son out of seven siblings. At the age of 18, he left home to study art at the Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. The wife of the U.S Ambassador to Spain saw some of his dress sketches and paid him to design a gown for her daughter. When he saw her daughter wearing his dress on the cover of LIFE magazine, he made the decision to switch from abstract art to focus on fashion.

His career started when he landed an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, who was Spain’s most acclaimed designer at the time. About two years later, Oscar de la Renta moved to New York and became a designer for Florence Nightingale Graham, who went by the business name Elizabeth Arden. In 1965, the first Oscar de la Renta brand was launched.

Oscar de la Renta’s creations were a fixture on the red carpet and in the oval office. He had dressed Nancy Reagan and provided the inaugural gown for Laura Bush. He was also responsible for Hillary Clinton’s look: the pantsuit. In October, President Barack Obama sported an Oscar de la Renta creation at the Fashion Education Workshop at the White House.

Other than fashion design, de la Renta spread his creative process into fragrance, into a home line, and also into furniture.

“I’m a very restless person. I’m always doing something. The creative process never stops.” Said de la Renta according to CNN News.

Oscar de la Renta was known for contributing to charity and providing assistance to the government, like when he designed uniforms for the National Police in 1999 at no cost. In 2012, he opened a new boutique in Punta Cana and donated the proceeds of the initial sales to a school for low income kids. He also worked with Vice President Margarita Cedono, the former First Lady of the Dominican Republic, on a program that helped the poor gain job skills and income by designing dresses.

Oscar de la Renta was the winner of numerous Cody Awards, the fashion equivalent of the Oscars. He was recently awarded the Medal of Excellence at Carnegie Hall last April by Hillary Clinton. Before his death, the organizers of Fashion Week planned to petition the government to name a street for him.

Oscar de la Renta leaves behind his second wife, Annet Engelhard Reed, and his son. He has been a major influence on many designers and the people who look up to him in the Dominican Republic. He proved that one can start from nothing and make it big no matter who they are. With all of these great accomplishments, Oscar de la Renta has left a major mark on this world. He will forever be remembered.

 

 

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