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Fashion 101: Oscar de la Renta

Thursday, July 21, 2011

There are so many great fashion designers in this world that have changed society in pivotal ways. It's hard when you sit down to decide who the very top houses are...but I don't feel that is so much necessary as knowing who the fashion royalty are in general. Valentino, Dior, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and of course Oscar de la Renta. Of course this list could be much longer, this is just me rambling off the top designers that are on my top of mind recall. I always love learning of how these great visionaries got their start, and I am always interested to learn how intertwined this industry is.

Oscar de la Renta was born in 1932 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At 18, he moved to Madrid, Spain to study painting and quickly became enveloped by the world of fashion. He began sketching for top Spanish fashion houses until he landed a prominent apprenticeship for the couturier Balenciaga, not a bad start. From there he moved to Paris and began work at Lanvin as a couture assistant.

Working for incredible talents like Balenciaga and Antonio Castillo [Lanvin], I learned about the immense skills and creativity involved in couture work. Today, I apply some of that same detailing and artistry in some of my own designs. 

 In 1963, Oscar notices the future of fashion shifting to ready to wear and moves to New York to trail-blaze the path. Upon taking the advice of Vogue Editor in Chief Diana Vreeland, Oscar designs custom clothing for the Elizabeth Arden label where she will help promote his name and work that will advance his future line. Two years later, with grown public recognition, the house of Oscar de la Renta is launched.

I have always felt my role as a designer is to do the very best I can for a woman to make her look her best. Fashion is only fashion once a woman puts it on.

{merci ShinyStyleTV}

Being honored for his talent is no new territory for Oscar, as he has won many awards over the years for his excellence in design.  Oscar also served as President for the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973-1976 and made one big change that you may all be interested in, Oscar added the CFDA Awards! This allowed the fashion industry to award their own for a job well done, rather than going to an outside sponsor. Oscar has been awarded:

Coty Awards
1967 Fashion Critic's Award

1968 Fashion Critic's Award
1973 Coty Hall of Fame

CFDA Awards
1990 CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award 
2000 Designer of the Year 

2007 Designer of the Year 

Before expanding into his diverse and fabulous accessory lines, Oscar makes a detour from 1993-2002 to be head couturier of Balmain...the first American to do so for a French house! Oscar is able to turn Balmain, a failing line that had not sold a dress in two years, into a leading house for dress sales in France.

{merci brides.com}

Oscar de la Renta is equal parts designer and business man which is apparent when you see the deep footprint he has firmly planted on the fashion world. I always look forward to his new collection each season, as it prances down the runways full of color, life, and lots of embellishment!

{dates and info thanks to Wikipedia and Oscar de la Renta website}

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